PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. raised on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, the need for the country to further improve its defense capabilities in a bid to “effectively cover our territory.”

Marcos was present during the acceptance, turnover and blessing ceremony of the C-295 medium lift aircraft of the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF), where he boarded an FA-50PH fighter jet during a capability demonstration flight.

He said he is confident that the acquisition of modern aircraft will ultimately improve the country’s defense systems as well as maritime patrol capability.

Marcos noted that these assets will be helpful as the country faces climate-related hazards such as typhoons and earthquakes.

“While these equipment will boost the readiness of our Air Force to respond to any contingency, there is still a need to further improve our capabilities to effectively cover our territory. Equally important is to ensure the airworthiness of Air Force assets and the corresponding training of crew and personnel to guarantee the safety of all,” Marcos said during his speech in the event held in Clark Airbase in Mabalacat Pampanga.

The President said that his administration will remain steadfast in pursuing the modernization efforts for the country’s defense.

The newly procured twin-turboprop transport aircraft was manufactured by the Airbus Defense and Space.

It is the newest generation of tactical airlifter in the light and medium segment that can be used for various missions such as medical evacuation, paradrop/airdrop, civic and humanitarian airlift mission, among others.

In an interview on Wednesday, Marcos said he was elated by his fighter jet ride experience which he had been wanting to do for so long.

“Ang gagaling talaga ng piloto natin (we have good pilots) that’s why we have to continue to encourage the modernization of our Armed Forces,” he said.

“We saw some of the capabilities that were demonstrated to me during the flight and we can see how important this increase in our capabilities is going to be, especially in the defense of our maritime territory,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)