Through the years, the PAF has boldly reinvented itself, assessing air assets and creating a whole new way to make things work. While the PAF endeavored to maintain a steady pool of competent pilots, it has also maintained in its human resource a number of professional and highly skilled maintenance men and women. Faced with tough realities, the downgrading and merging of units is an inevitable move to decommission assets that are either too old or too costly to maintain. The decommissioning of the last F-5 fighter jets was a commencement of new things to come. One of these new things is the highly successful Aircraft Recovery Program of 2002 that resulted in high operational rates and mission capability of the Air Force.
The next years posed attainment of objectives as the 4th TOW was redesignated as the 570th CTW and the 1st Air Division (1st AD) was reactivated. The PAF Personnel Management Center (PAFPMC) was created in 2007 with the vision of having a vital human resource allotment for existing units. The PAFPMC was responsible for recruitment, retraining and reassignment processes. In fulfillment of its drive to enhance the human resource, the 3-storey Airmen’s Mall was constructed in VAB. In addition, the PAF Library was also rebuilt. PAF ground forces (SPOW) continue to thwart the resistance caused by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Southern Luzon.
The 4th ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference hosted by the PAF in 2007, was a five-day event highlighted by a symposium espousing the theme: “Community of ASEAN Air Forces for Enhanced Cooperation Against Terrorism”. Realizing the importance of teamwork and mutual aid to thwart terrorism, the event gathered ASEAN Air Chiefs purposely to exchange professional views. It provided opportunities to effect critical measures to keep the ASEAN region safe from threats of violence and intimidation of wayward groups. Banking on the PAF’s resilient strength and capabilities, the ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference was successfully carried out and conducted without a hitch - this, at a most critical time when Asia and its immediate neighbors were fighting off the evils of terrorism.
In 2008, the fight against the rebel Muslims intensified which led to a series of air strikes spearheadedby Operation Lightning Sword. Despite the precarious predicament which threatened the state, the Air Force still lent an open hand in providing assistance to the victims of cyclone “Nagris” in Myanmar by sending medical and relief missions.
In maintaining positive relations with the people it vowed to protect, the PAF sent engineers to Mindanao to effect the government’s Kalayaan sa Barangay Program – the project aimed at building schools, facilities and water systems to show the government’s sincere hand for development to arrest marginalization in the countryside. After the massive destruction brought about by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, the PAF was once again at the forefront of peace-building efforts by providing volunteered their rescue, relief and rehabilitation services to our countrymen.
On 09 March 2009, acquisition of fifteen (15) T-41B primary trainer aircraft from South Korea was made and were delivered to boost Basic Military Pilot Training at the PAF Flying School. While the Command waited for modernization, it concentrated on a pronounced drive to professionalize its most critical asset – human resource. Embracing the core values of IN-STEP – Integrity, Service above Self, Teamwork, Excellence and Professionalism – the leadership resolved to develop and arrest mediocrity at all levels. The modest acquisition was complemented by a structured system of strategic planning and redefined training programs alongside the widespread updating of PAF manuals and other documents that focused on the dictates of service - advocating peace, progress and unity. Hammering down on pronounced core competencies and core values, the airmen and women created opportunities for the PAF to show its decisive will to succeed in spite of realities and pronounced difficulties during that period.