US military pilots must not use PHL aircraft codes: Esperon

American military pilots should be cautioned against using hex codes belonging to Philippine aircraft while conducting their surveillance missions, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Thursday. 

Esperon’s remarks came following reports that a US surveillance aircraft disguised itself as a Philippine plane using hex codes assigned to the country while flying over the Yellow Sea.

Wala pa kaming update (We still don’t have an update). We have yet to get the reaction of the US Embassy (in Manila) but it is important to ask them and caution them or inform them if they have not known about that there (are US) pilots (who) have been using the codes that belong to Philippine aircraft and Malaysia,” he said in a virtual press briefing.

Earlier, US military planes were reported to have disguised themselves as Malaysian aircraft while conducting missions near China.

Esperon noted that these pilots are trying to test China’s reaction and that Philippine aircraft are not known to operate that far as “our planes only operate within the country’s air domains.”

“The possibilities are they could be trying really the capacity of China to (react). Just imagine, the incident happened in the Yellow Sea, which is between Korea and China. It is an area where we don’t usually go,” he said. 

Esperon also cited the need for their US counterparts to be reminded that such moves could have serious implications on the Philippines.

“It is something that must be discussed. Nonetheless, we hope that this could be settled satisfactorily between the parties,” he added. PNA.GOV.PH