“I do believe that our engagements with the rest of the world, with stalwart countries like the U.S. and your entire Defence Force, will always be at the service of our aspiration to build a vibrant, peaceful and progressive Filipino nation.” – Lieutenant General Edgar R Fallorina, AFP
This was the statement of the Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), Lt Gen Edgar R Fallorina AFP, during the formal acceptance, blessing, and turn-over ceremony of the C-130T aircraft with tail number 5040 conducted on October 24, 2016, at the PAF Grandstand, Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. The said aircraft, which was slated for transfer to the PAF on October 09, was the second and last C-130T aircraft acquired from the United States through its Excess Defense Articles (EDA) Program following the arrival of the C-130T with tale number 5011 last April in Brigadier General Benito N Ebuen Air Base (BGBNEAB).
The formal hand-over of aircraft documents highlighted the ceremony. It symbolized the transfer of C130T aircraft from the US government represented by His Excellency Goldberg to the Philippine government, represented by Secretary Lorenzana. Likewise, Secretary Lorenzana turned-over the same documents to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) represented by AFP Chief of Staff, General Ricardo R Visaya AFP, then transferred the documents to the PAF, represented by the Lt Gen Fallorina. The latter immediately turned-over the documents to Major General Arnold A Mancita AFP, Commander of Air Logistics Command, the unit in charge of entering the aircraft on the book of properties of the PAF. Lastly, MGEN Mancita gave the documents to Brigadier General Nicolas C Parilla AFP, Wing Commander of 220th Airlift Wing, the end user unit.
During the turn-over ceremony, outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said that the C-130 planes symbolize the strong partnership between the Philippines and the US. He also commended Major Marjorie Mukay.
“I would like to commend the Air Force who flew the aircraft from Tuscon, Arizona all the way to the Philippines. I heard this marked the first time that a woman pilot-in-command of Philippine C-130 flew a trans-Pacific flight. Congratulations to you [Major] Marjorie Mukay, your achievement represents yet another milestone, another step together, another step forward in our long friendship,” he said.
Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana noted the significance of the aircraft that was seen during relief missions for Typhoon Lawin. He also thanked the US for co-funding the acquisition of the C-130 platforms.
The symbolic turn-over rite was then followed by the blessing of and ceremonial pouring of champagne on the new aircraft.
The acquisition of the C-130T aircraft is part of the PAF’s Modernization Program aimed to boost the PAF’s mobility and airlift capability, particularly in the rapid deployment of troops and logistics, as well as, during the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR).
With this, the PAF now has a total of five (5) C-130 aircraft composed of two (2) C-130T, two (2) C-130H, and one (1) C-130B.