April 12, 2016 (by Asif Shamim) - The Philippine Air Force (PAF) held a formal Acceptance and Blessing Ceremony of C-130T, number #5011 on April 12, 2016, at the CJVAB Grandstand in Pasay City.
Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin pours champagne on the nose of the C-130T #5011 which was acquired from the United States as part of the armed forces modernization program Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. [AP Photo by Bullit Marquez]
Secretary of National Defense, the Honorable Secretary Voltaire T Gazmin, led the ceremonial rites as Guest of Honor with the Commanding General, PAF LtGen Edgar R Fallorina AFP, as the military host.
The arrival of the first C-130T aircraft will add to the present three operational C-130 aircraft of the PAF in expanding the national military objectives and in support to the national government.
On the strength of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Law, the PAF embarked on their C-130T aircraft acquisition project so as to boost its capabilities for the medium tactical airlift requirement of transporting forces rapidly to any part of the country and even abroad, to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.
Highlighting the ceremony was the formal hand-over of aircraft documents that symbolizes the transfer of C-130T aircraft from the US government represented by His Excellency Philip S Goldberg, the U.S Ambassador to the Philippines, to the Philippine government, represented by the Secretary of National Defense, the Honorable Secretary Voltaire T Gazmin.
Secretary Gazmin turned-over the same documents to the Chief of Staff, General Hernando Iriberri. The final repcient was BGen Jose G Mirandilla JR, the Wing Commander of 220th Airlift Wing, the end user unit. The symbolic turn-over rite was followed by the blessing of and ceremonial pouring of champagne on the new aircraft.
Ambassador Goldberg expressed happiness in seeing the alliance and partnership between the Philippines and the United States getting stronger as exemplified by the ceremonial transfer of the C-130T. The other one he said is the on-going Philippine-US Balikatan Exercise 2016. He said the US government will continue supporting the PAF as it pursues to acquire more of the C-130T aircraft through the exercise of both countries’ mutual defense agreement.
On the other hand, Secretary Gazmin extended his warm appreciation to the United States for the financial assistance provided to the Philippine Government by co-funding the acquisition cost of two units of the C-130T aircraft. He also congratulated the PAF family for the new acquisition. Convinced, Secretary Gazmin said “without doubt, this new air asset will be a big help in enhancing the operational readiness of our Armed Forces.”
is the first of two newly bought C-130T aircraft to have arrived. These two C-130Ts were previously being used by the US Marine Reserve for air refueling/tanker operations when they were pulled out from active duty and reconfigured by the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona into transport aircraft to support the PAF’s operational lift requirements. The second aircraft is expected to be delivered on either September or October this year.
After the blessing ceremony, the aircraft left Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base to fly its first operational mission transporting military and civilian passengers to Mactan in Cebu and Laguindingan in Cagayan de Oro.