Press Release
September 15, 2008

Gordon bats for PAF's supplemental budget for C-130

Sen. Richard J. Gordon today reiterated his call for a supplemental budget of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to allow it to purchase at least a second-hand C-130 plane needed not only for its combat operations but also for its other disaster relief missions.

Gordon, vice chairman of the Senate defense committee, said he will personally see to it that the PAF is given additional budget once its proposed 2009 P8.9-billion budget is submitted and deliberated in the Upper Chamber.

"We only have one C-130 that is operational, but it will not suffice to meet the pressing and growing demands of our troops since there are some lawless elements that might exploit the security vacuum that may be created in other parts of the country," he said.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. earlier said that the government is now foregoing with its plan to buy a new or used cargo aircraft due to budgetary constraints. He added that a new C-130 would cost some $80 million, while a secondhand $18 million.

According to him, the planned purchase of an additional C-130 plane would also substantially deplete the PAF's budget for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) despite its proposed budget of P5.5 billion for internal security operations.

Gordon has filed Senate Resolution 601 urging the executive and legislative branches of the government to increase the proposed 2009 P8.9-billion budget of the Philippine Air Force to enable t to augment its fleet of C-130 aircraft.

"It is imperative that this undertaking should come into fruition. The protection not only of lives, liberty and property, but also of the entire country, are at stake. All possible measures must be exhausted in order to strengthen PAF's capability," he said.

Gordon also said that it might even be cost-effective for the defense establishment to purchase an additional C-130 plane than hire commercial planes in transporting the troops in areas they are most needed, notwithstanding the security risks of carrying firearms and ammunitions.

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