Philippine Air Force grounds entire fleet of Hueys after fatal crash in Bukidnon

Marje Pelayo   •   January 18, 2021   •   262

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has grounded its entire fleet of UH-1H helicopters while investigations on the fatal crash in Bukidnon on Saturday (January 16) are ongoing.

“Definitely lahat ng UH-1 helicopter natin will be grounded until such time makumpleto yung thorough maintenance inspection. Part po kasi iyan ng safety procedure,” confirmed PAF Spokesperson LtCol. Aristides Galang.

The official also spoke to rectify rumors that the cause of the mishap was engine failure.

“Masyado pa po kasing maaga, so yung investigating team natin hindi po ganoon kabilis na made-determine natin kaagad kung ano yung cause of the accident, ng mishap,” he said.

“Marami po kasi tayong factors na ikino-consider. Hindi po natin masabi kaagad na may problema sa makina yung eroplano,” he added.

All five PAF personnel who were killed in the incident were given full military honors on Sunday (January 17).

They were pilot LtCol. Arnie Arroyo; co-pilot 2Lt. Mark Anthony Caabay; Sgt. Mervin Bersabe; Air First Class Stephen Agarrado; and Sgt. Julius Salvador.

Two members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) namely Jerry Ayocdo and Jhamel Sugalang who were with them were also killed in the incident.

The group was supposed to deliver food supplies to a patrol base in Impasug-Ong, Bukidnon.

Based on the latest report of the 4ID Philippine Army, the remains of the five soldiers were laid at the headquarters of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing in Mactan Cebu while the remains of the two CAFGU members were transported to their respective hometowns and families. —MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan / Val Villaflor)

Philippine Air Force receives 6 Black Hawk choppers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force received six Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk choppers during a turnover ceremony in Clark Freeport, Pampanga on Thursday (December 10).

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the six Black Hawk choppers are the first batch of the 16 new combat utility helicopters bought from Poland under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.

“We got a better deal with these aircraft. Not only is the Black Hawk more powerful, there is more payload, has a longer range, but we also got them at the price with the bell412 which is a cheaper aircraft,” he said.

Lorenzana said the deal costs P11.6 billion and has replaced the cancelled contract of 16 Bell 412EP helicopters from Canada.

The DND Secretary also said the helicopters will be useful in medical evacuation, troops insertion, as well as for the government’s COVID-19 response.

“These aircraft would greatly help the armed forces operational readiness. equipped with the Black Hawk our air force can now provide prompt and sustained day and night tactical lift as well as combat and non-combat search and rescue operations,” he said.

Ten more of the said helicopters are expected to arrive in 2021. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

DND wants to acquire helicopters from South Korea

Robie de Guzman   •   October 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday expressed his department’s intention to acquire helicopters from South Korea.

In a statement, Lorenzana said the DND is looking to acquire South Korean UH-1H and MD500 helicopters.

He, however, said the acquisition project is still in the “exploratory stage.”

Its details, including the timeline and quantity of the assets to be acquired, have yet to be finalized, he added.

In a congratulatory letter to newly-appointed Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Suh Wook, Lorenzana also bared DND’s plan to conduct a Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The team will be composed of representatives from the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Lorenzana assured that the JVI will be conducted following strict biosafety protocols amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental LGUs temporarily cease receiving LSIs until Oct. 4

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Occidental will temporarily close their respective borders to incoming locally stranded individuals (LSIs) for the next two weeks.

According to Misamis Occidental Governor Philip Tan Itoy, the two-week closure of borders is to allow local health workers and other frontliners to rest from the stress and load brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Governor Itoy also explained that the province’s isolation facilities are in need of cleaning while some require general repair as well as other maintenance works.

The LGUs’ moratorium on LSIs will remain in effect until October 4.

Based on the latest record, the province of Misamis Occidental has the fifth highest number of COVID-19 cases in Northern Mindanao. MNP (with reports from Weng Fernandez)

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