The landing
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - June 13, 2018 - 12:00am

Is the recent landing of a Chinese military plane in Davao an issue? An Il-76 of the People's Liberation Army Air Force landed at Davao International Airport last Friday. The plane was spotted by a group of airplane enthusiasts. The plane identified by the Philippine Plane Spotters Group was posted on the internet. There was an immediate reaction. Why did a Chinese military plane land in Davao? Why not at NAIA, Clark, or Cebu? Does it have something to do with Davao being Duterte's city? The whole country, perhaps the whole world knows the affinity of Duterte to anything Chinese.

According to the Palace, there is nothing to worry about because all the proper coordination was done to allow the aircraft to land for refueling purposes. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) allowed the plane to land. The AFP also said there was nothing unusual for the plane to land in the country. It seems everyone is defending the landing of the aircraft.

But DND Secretary Lorenzana said he did not know that there was a Chinese military plane in the country, and only learned about it when it landed. He was quick to add that if the plane coordinated with CAAP, then it's fine. There was nothing wrong if they were not informed.

But this is a military aircraft. Shouldn't the DND know that? There are those who say it stayed too long just for refueling. Nor was it clear whether it was en route to or from Australia. According to Senator Lacson, when a military plane enters Philippine airspace, the DND must be informed to take the necessary action. If protocols were not followed, the country, or at least Davao, is acting like a province of China and not a sovereign state. Lacson also did not understand why the government seemed quiet regarding the landing. If the plane spotting group did not post it online, would they have informed the public?

Does a treaty now exist between the Philippines and China to allow their aircraft to land? Maybe there is one in Davao. Despite current issues with the Chinese --Chinese Coast Guard getting the best catch of Filipino fishermen in "exchange" for noodles at Panatag Shoal, as well as harassment of suppliers at Ayungin Shoal-- they don't seem to have problems entering the country, while our fishermen have to deal with them much differently.

I beg to differ on Lorenzana's statement that China will not invade the country, which he claims is a thing of the past. It is not a question of an invasion, but of submission. President Duterte himself has repeatedly stated we cannot win a war with China. We seem to have lost a war that has not even started. Do the Chinese now believe they can do anything in the country, since the commander-in-chief has already admitted our weakness? This administration already sounds like an apologist for China. The fact that the aircraft chose to land in Davao and not in Manila shows how close Beijing already is to the city. What's next?

korina_abs@yahoo.com

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