Palace defends acquisition of Air Force aircraft from US
Malacanang defended on Tuesday the change of heart of the Duterte administration of not acquiring military equipment from the United States.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the purchase of Gulfstream G280 aircraft would help the military during times of crisis.
"The Secretary of National Defense explains it as the plane will serve as platform to carry senior leaders and commanders in the event of, for example, crisis situation, that was his explanation," he said.
Panelo said the aircraft, which is expected to be delivered by mid-2020, is similar to an airborne command post.
"It has a capability better than the ordinary like it requires a short runway," he said.
Asked why the Philippine Air Force has signed a contract with the US firm after President Rodrigo Duterte previously stated he would no longer acquire military equipment from America, Panelo said, "Perhaps that's the only airplane which has such capability. Thus, it was considered."
He also justified purchase of the aircraft, saying it was a necessity.
"The President is very frugal. He doesn't spend unless necessary," he added.
The Gulfstream G280 aircraft to be delivered by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation amounts to US$39.9 million or almost P2 billion.
According to reports, it was acquired through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales Program. Celerina Monte/DMS