Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has endorsed the inclusion of the purchase of three brand new C-130J planes by the Philippine Air Force in the proposed 2022 national budget.
Velasco made the endorsement after his meeting with PAF officials led by Commanding General Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes at the House of Representatives on Monday.
The House is currently holding plenary deliberations on the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022.
“We fully support PAF’s modernization and priority projects for next year, particularly its plan to upgrade its fleet by buying brand new and modern aircrafts,” Velasco said in a statement.
Velasco earlier committed to include the purchase of more military aircrafts in the 2022 national budget after a PAF C-130 transport plane crashed in Sulu province on July 4, killing at least 45 people.
The aircraft, carrying troops bound for counter-insurgency operations, crashed with 96 people on board. It had attempted to land at Jolo airport, but overshot the runway and crashed at nearby Patikul town.
“I can only give my word that we in the House of Representatives will include in the 2022 budget the modernization of the PAF’s fleet and ensure the proper training of personnel in handling modern equipment,” Velasco said.
“We acknowledge the importance of our uniformed personnel, as our dear President Duterte himself has done so several times,” Velasco said. “The least we can do is to ensure that this never happens again.”