MANILA, Philippines - A newly refurbished C-130 Hercules cargo plane arrived at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City yesterday from the United States, enhancing the capabilities of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
PAF spokesman Col. Miguel Okol said the C-130 is now being maintained by the 220th Airlift Wing and will complement the lone C-130 plane in the Air Force inventory.
“This will increase our capability to help in the government’s national development initiatives as well as mitigate the effects of national calamities by providing lift to supplies and emergency response teams to stricken areas,” he said.
The C-130 with tail number 4704 was sent to a British Aerospace facility at Mojave, California last Aug. 8 for periodic depot maintenance. The maintenance works cost P190 million and was funded through foreign military sales.
“The PAF has been responsive and was able to airlift supplies and equipment to our countrymen with a single C-130 during disasters and calamities; now with another one we will double that capability,” PAF chief Lt. Gen. Lauro dela Cruz said.
Okol said the crew of the cargo plane made stopovers at Hawaii, Wake Island and Guam.
After the maintenance checks, 220th Airlift Wing deputy chief Col. Jose Mirandilla Jr. and his crew consisting of Lt. Col. Ramil Oloroso, Maj. Michael Edrik Encarnacion, Capt. Ian Dexter Danes and Capt. Merrito Quijano immediately prepared for departure last Sunday.
Okol said another C-130 plane undergoing maintenance in the country is expected to become operational by the first quarter of 2013.
“With only one (C-130), we did a lot. With three, we can definitely do a lot more to serve our countrymen,” he said.
The government has promised to provide the military the necessary equipment and assets to enable it to perform its mandate.