The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Tuesday said its aircraft, including two of its brand-new A-29B “Super Tucano” attack planes, have flown persuasion flights over various parts of Mindanao as part of their efforts to secure the May 9 national and local elections from lawless elements.
“It’s more of a reminder that somebody is securing the air space and is ready to help at a short notice,” PAF spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
He added that aircraft from the PAF’s Tactical Operations Wing Western Mindanao and Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 12 facilitated the flight missions of the UH-1H “Huey” and S-70i “Black Hawk” helicopters, and the A-29B “Super Tucano” attack aircraft.
“The PAF air assets conducted persuasion flights in the AOR (area of operations) of JTF (Joint Task Force) Central in the Provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and North Cotabato, particularly in the Municipalities of Parang, Bongo Island, Sultan Kudarat, Datu Piang, Rajah Buayan, Datu Paglas, Buluan, Datu Blah Sinsuat, South Upi, Sultan Sa Barongis, Pandag, Mangudadatu, Pigcawayan, Pikit, Malabang and Cotabato City,” Mariano said.
He added these missions are part of the PAF’s efforts in ensuring a peaceful and orderly conduct of the May 9 elections.
“The whole Armed Forces (of the Philippines) was put on alert, the same thing with the PAF air assets, all were on alert for the election, wherever and whenever it is needed,” Mariano said.
Also, Tactical Operations Group 9 facilitated the deployment of persuasion flights of two MD-520 attack helicopters over hotspot areas in Lanao Del Sur.
“Marawi City, Tubaran, and Maguing are among the hot areas in Lanao del Sur which are under Comelec (Commission on Elections) control. The conduct of persuasion flights are among the measures of the AFP to deter armed groups in these areas from conducting illegal activities to bring chaos and disrupt the conduct of elections in the area,” Mariano said.