P2 billion for new C-130J aircraft approved at Lower House

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda has said that during the small group meeting, October 19, in the House of Representatives amendments on the 2021 national budget were approved including PHP2 billion for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s acquisition of C-130 aircraft.

“’Yung requirement para halimbawa sa AFP, kailangang kailangan talaga ng C-130, gusto talaga namin lima so sabi sige pagbigyan muna ng dalawa. Kahit ito ay 15 percent downpayment lang,” Salceda said in a press interview, as quoted by Inquirer.net.

Amendments on the 2021 budget also include: PHP5.5 billion for the procurement of vaccines against COVID-19, PHP4 billion for financial assistance to displaced workers, PHP2 billion pandemic assistance to those afflicted and their families, PHP2 billion to complete the construction of various hospitals and purchase hospital equipment, PHP2 billion for the mobility assets of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, PHP1.7 billion for the internet needs of schools under the Department of Education, PHP300 million for the mental health programs of the Department of Health, PHP400 million for the development of renewable energy under the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), PHP100 million for the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to improve and modernize its system.

Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief Lieutenant General Allen Paredes said in September during House of Representatives committee hearing on 2021 proposed budget of Department of National Defense (DND) that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the acquisition of five new C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft.

“The President has directed in May this year that the Air Force, the DND and DBM, acquire five C-130Js, the newer model,” Lieutenant General Paredes said.

“We are of the opinion that this would be enough to serve, specially our mandate to be able to transport one rapidly deployable battalion at one stroke and this would also be consistent with the historical demands of like for example typhoon Yolanda when we had to carry in personnel, equipment, and supplies,” he added.

However, the Air Force chief said the C-130J acquisition project worth 37 billion pesos is included in the proposed unfunded tier 2 priority projects of DND-AFP.

“The proponent is willing to – we can have a financing agreement. What they need is 15% down payment or about 5.5 billion for the first year, hopefully for 2021,” Paredes said.

He also said that currently, PAF has “a total of 4 C-130s, only 2 are operational, the other 2 are undergoing scheduled maintenance, one in Portugal and one in Cebu.”