Imee issues Senate resolution directing inquiry on landing of USAF aircraft at NAIA
Senator Imee Marcos issued on Tuesday a resolution ''directing the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation'' on the United States Air Force aircraft that landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last Monday.
Based on the resolution, a Boeing C-17 strategic transport aircraft landed at NAIA around 8:08 am of June 26.
The resolution said under the "Article VIII of the Republic of the Philippine - United States Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), aircraft operated by or the US armed forces may enter the Philippines upon approval of the government of the Philippines and shall observe local air traffic control regulations while in the country."
However, citing a source, the resolution states that the "Manila International Airport Integrated Command and Control Center was not given any advisory on the arrival of the aircraft".
The resolution noted that upon verification, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) revealed that the Embassy of the United States of America issued an advisory to the Department of Foreign Affairs that an aircraft registered to the United States military will enter and exit the territorial airspace of the Philippines in direct support of "Kapit Bisig" activities" and under a diplomatic clearance.
CAAP said the US military aircraft with nine military crew and one passenger onboard was bound to Puerto Princesa, Palawan from Guam.
CAAP confirmed that the aircraft stayed in NAIA for 10 hours and departed around 6:10 pm then arrived at Puerto Princesa at 7:08 pm of the same day.
The resolution also noted several questions raised which includes its reason for staying at NAIA for 10 hours, why it landed in NAIA even though its original destination is Palawan, the real number as well as the identities of those onboard the aircraft and whether any of the passengers or crew has a destination other than Puerto Princesa and why there was an apparent lack of coordination between the CAAP, DFA and the Department of National Defense on the matter.
On the other hand, Ma. Teresita Daza, DFA spokesperson said ''a diplomatic clearance was issued to an aircraft of this type in relation to a bilateral defense cooperation activity."
However, she confirmed that "it is not related to the request for temporary housing of Afghan SIV applicants, which is still under discussion." Robina Asido/DMS