07 May 2017

Since its first hosting in 2007, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has successfully hosted the 14th ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference (AACC) that run from May 02 to 07, 2017 in Manila, Philippines anchored on this year’s theme, “ASEAN Air Forces: Partnering for Change, Jointly Engaging for Greater Peace and Security.”

The AACC is an annual meeting that started in 2004 where outputs of the conferences held previously became the bases for cooperation of many policies and agreements among the Air Force of ASEAN member countries, particularly in addressing issues on counterinsurgency, maintaining peace and security in the region, and non-traditional security threats.

The PAF Commanding General, Lieutenant General Edgar R Fallorina AFP, led this year’s activities together with other ASEAN Air Forces’ Chiefs who have shown their continuous commitment and cooperation. Representing their countries in the annual meeting were: Brigadier General (U) Shahril Anwar Bin Haji Ma’Awiah, Commander of Royal Brunei Air Force; Air Chief Marshal Hadi Jahjanto, S. IP, Chief of Staff of Indonesian Air Force; General Dato’ Sri Haji Affendi Bin Buang, Chief of Royal Malaysian Air Force; Major General Tan Wei Ming, Chief of Air Force of Republic of Singapore Air Force; Air Chief Marshal Johm Rungswang, Commander-in-Chief of Royal Thai Air Force; Lieutenant General Le Huy Vinh, Commander of Air Defense and Air Force Service, Vietnam People’s Army; General Soeung Samnang, Commander of Royal Cambodian Air Force; Brigadier General Khamphath Phimmahxay, Chief of the Air Force, General Department, Ministry of National Defense of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic of Laos; and General Khin Aung Myint, Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Air Force.

As this year’s host, CG, PAF officially opened the 14th AACC. There were presentations and exchange of views among the Air Forces’ Chiefs. The conference recapitulated the importance of air power and air diplomacy in the ASEAN region in order to help others and build bridges of goodwill as evidenced by the PAF's current engagements with other ASEAN counterparts at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

Immediately after the session, Lt Gen Fallorina handed over the chairmanship of the AACC to Major General Tan Wei Ming, who will be hosting the 15th AACC in Singapore sometime in 2018.

Not only did they have productive engagements with the Air Chiefs, they also experienced the incomparable Filipino hospitality before they departed back to their respective countries. After the successive and exhausting meetings, some of the Air Chiefs together with their spouses had the opportunity to layover in Boracay Island, the most-visited beach resort in the country. They enjoyed the marvellous sceneries around the island and tasted the authentic Filipino cuisine. The Air Chiefs together with their spouses took a candid shot at the sand castle. Fire show tricks and stunts by the professional fire dancers also fascinated the delegates while relishing their scrumptious dinner.

But it didn’t end there as the PAF arranged a gala dinner for the delegates upon their arrival from Boracay. They were serenaded by the PAF Superstars and entertained by the PAF Bayanihan Folk Dance Company with their spectacular performances depicting the eccentric yet exquisite Filipino culture.

In conjunction with the 14th AACC, the Air Force Symposium (AFS) kicked off on May 4 at the Shangri-La, The Fort in Taguig where local and foreign defense contractors and suppliers were able to display and offer their products and services. It also highlighted humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR)-related presentations by the Commander of 5th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Lieutenant General Jerry Martinez, and Chief of Staff of Japan Air Self-Defense Force, General Yoshiyuki Sugiyama.

After the presentation of foreign SMEs, Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense capped the session with his message focusing on the role of ASEAN in disaster mitigation and management.

“It is for this reason why we develop and enhance the capability of the Armed Forces towards the challenges in Disaster Risk Reduction Management,” Secretary Lorenzana said.

Apart from the bilateral meetings between the Air Chiefs, the 4th ASEAN Air Force Education and Training Working Group (AAFET-WG) meeting was also held.