Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” C. Teodoro Jr. on Tuesday said the Philippines would be receiving more military equipment from its allies in the coming days.
He made this statement during the acceptance, turnover and blessing ceremonies of the Cessna C-208B “Grand Caravan” intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft in Clark Air Base, Mabalacat, Pampanga.
Teodoro said, “There will be more exchanges like the transfer of the C-208 aircraft with other like-minded nations in the coming days.”
He did not provide any details on what kind of equipment and from what country it will be coming from.
“The platform you see here is an ISR platform which will contribute, no doubt, to our command and control, and our ability to protect whatever mission area is critical to us,” the defense chief stressed.
Known for its rugged utility and flexibility capable of operating up to 912 nautical miles and stay airborne for five hours and 30 minutes, the C-208B will be operated by the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing headed by Brig. Gen. Edgar C Torres.
The 208B has a cruising speed of around 170 knots and is capable of transporting eight to nine persons, including the pilot.
Teodoro also emphasized the importance of upholding the country’s territorial integrity and sovereign rights.
And while the new C-208B donated to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) will help contribute to peace in the country, the DND chief noted that “peace is only one of our national security goals” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Another national security goal, which is of paramount importance now, is the ability to secure the territorial integrity of our country, to secure our sovereign rights and our jurisdiction,” Teodoro said, adding that the country is upholding a rules-based international order and international law.
“National peace cannot be sustained if we cannot secure our sovereign rights in areas which rightfully belong to the Filipino people,” he added.
Teodoro also encouraged the members of the PAF to “think of the big picture,” as the scope of operations has increased and the security of the archipelagic baselines should be of importance.
“Because of the fact that we have international law and order, which includes freedom of navigation and an international airspace as justification for what we are doing, we hear a chorus of nations supporting us because we are in the right,” he added.
The C-208 aircraft will be utilized in support of internal security operations, territorial defense, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response specifically in the conduct of rapid damage assessment and needs analysis during times of calamities and disasters.
The C-208B will also be significant in counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts.
With its arrival, the PAF now has three C-20Bs in its inventory, adding to the two delivered by the US in 2017.