Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday refuted allegations that the Gulfstream G-280 jet is a luxury plane, saying the acquisition of the aircraft is a necessary component of ongoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.
“I would like to make some clarifications on the acquisition of the Gulfstream G-280 aircraft for the Philippine Air Force, which has been in the news the past few days. Let me emphasize that we do not consider the G-280 as a luxury aircraft, but a necessary component of the AFP modernization program for command and control of our Armed Forces to manage operations on air, land, and sea,” he said in a press statement.
The G-280 will be utilized as command-and-control aircraft, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong earlier said.
“This type of aircraft is necessary for a 24/7 real-time command-and-control, especially during crisis situation. The Gulfstream G280 acquisition is part of our efforts to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Lorenzana added.
He said the G-280 will be operated with other command-and-control platforms that the AFP has and those to be acquired in the future.
Lorenzana also denied claims that the aircraft is intended to be used as a Presidential plane, adding that President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier gave instructions that he is not interested in acquiring an executive jet for himself.
“The President has stated from the beginning that he does not want the procurement of an executive jet for his own use. This aircraft was not intended to be a Presidential plane but as a command-and-control plane of the AFP and the DND. The justification of its procurement says so: ‘For Command and Control,’ which was approved by the DND/AFP senior leaders last year specifically for the purpose stated,” the DND chief added.
Aside from its command-and-control functions, the G-280 will also be used for flights to ferry wounded soldiers and critically ill civilians that need to be quickly transported to hospitals.
“Other Cabinet secretaries and high government officials in their official trips around the country could also use it,” Lorenzana said, noting the plane will also facilitate the country’s diplomatic and humanitarian efforts with its Asean neighbors.
As regards to whether the Chief Executive will be using the aircraft, Lorenzana said all assets of the AFP are at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief.
“Will the President be using it? As the Commander-in-Chief all assets of the AFP are at his disposal when he needs them. The Filipino people can rest assured that, contrary to what is being passed around in an obvious attempt to discredit the national leadership, the acquisition of the Gulfstream aircraft is not a frivolous pursuit, but rather a result of careful planning with due consideration to the needs of our Armed Forces,” he added. PNA.GOV.PHPurchase of Gulfstream jet vital part of AFP modernization