Air Force confirms second C-295 military transport aircraft arriving tomorrow

The Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s second Airbus Military C-295 medium transport aircraft will arrive at Clark Field, Pampanga Tuesday afternoon. “C-295M tail number 140 left Spain last Sept. 8. It is expected to arrive at Clark Field tomorrow Sept. 15 on the afternoon. It will undergo technical inspection and acceptance process [before being] formally turned over to PAF later,” said PAF spokesperson Col. Enrico Canaya, in a message to the PNA Monday.

Canaya also said that there was no final date yet on the C-295’s turnover to the Air Force. The first C-295 with tail number 129 arrived at Clark Air Base, Pampanga in the afternoon of March 22.

The Philippines has a three C-295 contract worth Php5.29 billion with Airbus Military signed last year.

Airbus earlier said that delivery of aircraft will be earlier than schedule. “The remaining two aircraft will be delivered ahead of schedule during the second half of this year,” Airbus Defence and Space press manager for military aircraft Kieran Daly previously said.

According to original schedule, first unit was set to be delivered August 2015 and the second one was scheduled by March 2016, while the third aircraft was expected September 2016.

The C-295 is categorized as medium lift aircraft equivalent to the Fokker F-27 aircraft being maintained by the 220th Airlift Wing, the C-295s have rear ramp door similar to that of the C-130s for easier access and loading/unloading of passengers and cargoes. with PNA

US government awards Willard Marine contract to build boats for PNP Maritime Group

American builder Willard Marine was awarded by the United States Department of State a contract “to provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with patrol vessels equipped to conduct search and rescue operations along Philippine maritime borders,” Willard Marine said in a statement.

According to the American firm the contract is the third time Willard Marine has been chosen to provide military vessels to the Philippines.

Willard Marine said it will provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with aluminum, 30-foot patrol boats with twin 480-hp engines and dual water jets, as well as 34-foot patrol boats with 600-hp engines and dual water jets.

“Gun posts will be positioned forward and aft, and the boats will display a 40oz. Polyurethane foam collar,” Willard Marine said.

President of Willard Marine Ulrich Gottschling said “we are confident that the Philippine National Police will get tremendous use of their new Willard patrol boats for many years, and we hope to provide them with additional vessels as their mission requirements grow and evolve over time.”

PNP will be provided with customized patrol craft derived from a former SeaArk Marine boat design that Willard Marine acquired licensing rights last year.

Philippines, Mexico enhances intellectual property cooperation

Representatives of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Mexican Institute of the Industrial Property (IMPI) on Sunday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance cooperation in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights through joint activities. Deputy Director General of the IPOPHL Allan Gepty signed for the Philippines and IMPI Director General Miguel Angel Margain signed for Mexico.

The MOU was inked at the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Intellectual Property Experts Group (IPEG) Meeting in Cebu City.

Considered a milestone in the intellectual property (IP) development of both countries, the MOU hopes to “extend the cooperation activities, specifically those concerning the protection, use, and enforcement of the intellectual property rights, through the joint organization of symposia, seminars and workshops and other capacity-building activities, included in the corresponding Work Project”.

Both parties have also agreed to extend the validity of the MOU for another three years, and renew it further through a written agreement by both countries.

Mexican Ambassador to the Philippines Julio Camarena Villaseñor, who witnessed the signing of the MOU, said the agreement comes at “an auspicious time” as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is set to make a state visit to the country on November 17.

Air Force looking for more advanced fighter aircraft

Despite the “air-to-air” capabilities of its South Korean-made F/A-50 “Fighting Eagle” jet aircraft, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) still has its sights on acquiring a more advanced and capable jet fighter. This was announced by PAF chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado in an interview Monday.

“The aircraft that we’ll be getting, while it has the capability to intercept and engage in air-to-air (mission) is still a transition aircraft, and hopefully in the next few years we will come up with a more advanced aircraft,” he added.

“No schedule yet because we are taking it one step at a time considering the limitations in the our budget, the limitations in our resources, so we are taking these things one step at a time but for sure we are moving forward, we are soaring high with our development as we continue to pursue the course of the Air Force Transformation Roadmap and AFP Modernization Program,” he added.

Under its Flight Plan 2028, the PAF intends to acquire and commission 12 multirole fighters (MRF) by 2021 to augment the then existing fleet of South Koren-made F/A-50 jet fighters.

MRF is a combat aircraft which is capable of conducting strike, surveillance and air-to-air superiority missions.

An example of an MRF is the McDonnell Douglas F-18 “Hornet” strike fighter which is being operated by the US and its allies.

United States determined in supporting AFP modernization

The United States is determined in supporting the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and expressed unwavering support for the path the Philippine government chose in solving maritime disputes in West Philippine Sea. “We help support Philippine modernization through excess defense articles,” US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said at the sidelines of the turnover ceremony for ten brand-new Philippine Air Force (PAF) helicopters.

Ambassador Goldberg said there are two C-130s in the pipeline for PAF. He added that US also supports the AFP modernization through foreign military funding, which last year, was at around USD50 million.

“It’s also important because what happens when the equipment is similar and we train together is that interoperability, so that in humanitarian disasters, in cases where rescue missions have to take place that we are working from the same sheet,” the American ambassador added.

He noted that US position is clear “that the way to settle disputes in South China Sea is through legal, peaceful and diplomatic means.”

Air Force to commission 10 brandnew choppers on Monday: 2 armed

Rotary-winged assets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) will get another much-needed boost with the turnover and blessing of eight Bell-412EP and two attack versions of AgustaWestland AW-109Es on Monday. The ceremonies will be held at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, PAF spokesperson Col. Enrico Canaya said.

He added that Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin will be the guest-of-honor and speaker for the occasion, the Philippine News Agency reports.

The Department of National Defense signed in March 2014 a PhP 4.8-billion contract with the Canadian government for the delivery of eight Bell 412EP helicopters. Order for eight attack AW-109Es worth PhP 3.44 billion was signed in June 2013.

The attack helicopters are armed with Rocket Machine Gun Pod system on both sides, comprising of 12.7mm (.50 caliber) machine gun, a NATO Standard 2.75inch/70mm 3-tube rocket launcher and a 400-round machine gun ammunition box.

Earlier this week, the Navy formally commissioned its two armed AW-109Es.

DND: China building search-and-rescue facilities for vessels they will destroy?

“For whom are those search-and-rescue facilities for?” This was the reaction of Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez when asked to comment on the Chinese plans to construct facilities on the artificial islands it constructed in the disputed portion of the South China Sea.

“Is it for our ships and installations that they are threatening to destroy?” he added.

Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua earlier said Beijing is set to construct facilities on its artificial islands to support freedom of navigation, search and rescue efforts in case of accidents, and scientific research.

“Regardless of what supposedly ‘good’ details the Chinese leadership informs the peace-focused and rules-based international community, they illegally and blatantly continue with their aggression as these are mere elements of their island building militarization which needs to be stopped and be dismantled,” Galvez stressed.

The DND spokesperson said that this proposal by China is what the Philippines has been warning the international community about.

He added that it become all too evident that the Chinese leadership had no intention of honoring its commitment to the ASEAN Declaration of Conduct in 2002 all along.

“They’ve said one thing and have done another. They are simply trying to cover their tracks. This is the worst stage of all, this is the militarization stage, and it must be stopped, otherwise, it will be the tipping point that will plunge the entire region including the peace loving Chinese communities into a deeper and irreversible crisis,” Galvez stressed.

Philippines, Russia to facilitate pending defense, military technical cooperation

During the ASEAN Foreign Ministers and related Meetings in in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario held several bilateral meetings with his counterparts from ASEAN states and partner nations which included a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“At the meeting, Secretary del Rosario and FM Lavrov agreed to facilitate the conclusion of several pending agreements between the Philippines and Russia, including the establishment of an intergovernmental commission on trade, defense and military technical cooperation, and combating transnational crimes,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

DFA said Secretary del Rosario likewise conveyed his appreciation to Russia for the conclusion of a new Air Services Agreement (ASA) in July that would pave the way for increased air traffic and tourist flows between Philippines and Russia.

The Russian Ministerproposed the publication of materials, among other things, to highlight the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and Russia next year.

The meeting was also part of paving the way for the historic visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Philippines to take part in APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) in November.

BRP Del Pilar escorts BRPs Batak, Ivatan: To arrive in Cavite on Friday

The two landing craft heavies (LCHs), which were donated by the Australian government to the Philippine Navy last January, will be arriving in Sangley Point, Cavite on Friday. This was disclosed by PN flag officer-in-command Vice Admiral Jesus C. Millan in a message to the PNA on Wednesday.

Sangley Point, Cavite is the headquarters of the Philippine Fleet.

“For info, the two LCHs, escorted by BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) [have sailed and passed] the waters of Zamboanga last night (Tuesday) and estimated to be in Cavite by Friday,” he said.

When asked whether the ships will be given a welcome ceremony this coming Monday, his retirement day, Millan said that this depends on weather conditions.

“Due to typhoon ‘Hanna,’ we are still waiting [for] the assessment and recommendation of the Philippine Fleet,” the PN chief said.

The LCHs left Cairns, Australia for their voyage to the Philippines last July 23.

The two ships were named BRP Ivatan (AT-298) and BRP Batak (AT-299). They will be joining the five other landing craft units in PN service.

Office, SUV vehicle assigned to Senator Marcos hit by bullets

A bullet hole has been found in the satellite office of Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. at the Sunset View Towers along Roxas Blvd. in Pasay City. Security guard on duty Sofronio Romatan said he discovered the hole at the front glass wall at 3:25pm last Sunday after he returned to his post located in front of Marcos’ office at the ground floor of the condominium building.

“I just went inside the building for a glass of water and when I came back I noticed that bullet hole,” Romatan said.

Guadencio Catapang of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Southern Police District found fragments of a bullet slug between the front glass panel and the second metal wall of the office.

“I hope it was just a stray bullet and not with intention to harm us,” Marcos said in media interview after talking to the investigators.

Marcos discounted the possibility that the bullet hole has something to do with the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). As chairman of the Senate committee on local government, Marcos is set to submit his committee report on the BBL on Monday.

He also believe the incident has nothing to do with 2016 elections since he has not declared his intention to run for president.

The Scene of the Crimes Operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is still determining the kind of firearm used in the incident.

Marcos said few months ago, a government-registered SUV vehicle assigned to his office was also hit by a bullet while it was parked in front of the Sunset View building.

The senator said the twin incidents could be the results of lapses on the part of the security personnel of the building.