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Palawan, Subic bases eyed for new fighter jets.

August 21, 2015 ·  By Alexis Romero for Philstar.com

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MANILA – The Philippines is eyeing the construction of military facilities in Subic and Palawan as it awaits the arrival of 12 lead-in fighter trainer jets acquired from South Korea.

Documents obtained by The STAR showed that the government is spending P135.99 million for the basing support system for the 12 FA-50 jets.

The jets were acquired from state-run Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) at P18.9 billion, making them the biggest item in the military’s upgrade program. Two of the jets may be delivered by yearend.

The Department of National Defense confirmed the project but maintained that it is not directed against any country.

DND spokesman Peter Galvez said it is necessary to build new facilities as the military acquires new air assets. He added that Subic and Palawan are ideal locations for the FA-50 jets.

“Subic has an existing runway which is ideal for operating the FA-50s and medium-lift aircraft. Palawan will provide us with an alternative site for the possible deployment not only of the FA-50s but other aircraft as well,” Galvez told The STAR.

“The preparations of those two locations are being undertaken in accordance with the defense establishment’s intention of addressing concerns in internal and external security as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” he added.

The DND previously confirmed that Subic Bay – site of what used to be the largest overseas defense facility of the US – would be reopened to host the military’s naval and air assets, given its strategic location.

Palawan, meanwhile, is the province nearest the Spratly Islands, a potentially oil- and gas-rich area being claimed in whole or in part by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. – With Jaime Laude

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