Press Release
November 25, 2013

Budget must include funds for more C-130s

Government can double the number of its operational C-130 planes to six next year by earmarking P1.5 billion in the 2014 national budget.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto said the cost of refurbishing one mothballed C-130 in the Philippine Air Force inventory is P500 million.

The estimate, he said, was provided by the PAF itself.

"So if we set aside P1.5 billion in next year's budget, then we will be able to double he number of our C-130 fleet. And that is a very wise investment the country should make," Recto said.

Recto said the PAF's three C-130s have proven their mettle by flying relief sorties in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

"It was the first plane to land in Tacloban after Yolanda laid waste to it. Since then the C-130s have conducted almost round-the-clock humanitarian airlift," Recto said.

The C-130s were also among the first responders to the Bohol earthquake, he said. "And when Zamboanga was under siege, it was the C-130s who kept supplying the city with fresh troops and supplies, sometimes delivering then under enemy fire," he said.

"The recent tragic events have proven one indisputable point : C-130s are essential transport. They should be high up in the list of disaster response equipment. Their purchase should be part of disaster preparation," Recto said.

"It doesn't take a rocket genius to figure out that a disaster-prone archipelago like ours need airlift capability," Recto said.

Repairing an "unserviceable" C-130 in the PAF stock, Recto said, even at a cost of P500 million per, is cheaper than buying a brand new C-130 which has a current price tag of $50 million or P2.2 billion.

He, however, said that government should not rule out buying brand new C-130s "if we have the money for it, and if that is what the PAF would recommend after technical review."

Recto believes that the government, using multi-year budgeting approach, meaning the payment will be spread out in years, can raise the amount for at least two brand new C-130s.

"If we were able to arrange funding for a squadron of South Korean-made FA-50 jets, then there's no reason why we can't do the same to C-130s," Recto said.

He was referring to the dozen fighter jets that the Philippines will be buying from Seoul at a cost of almost P19 billion.

From a high of 18, the number of Air Force's "mission capable" C-130 planes has whittled down to three.

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