I recently visited Singapore’s Air Force museum and was amazed how far they’ve come along from their air force’s humble beginning. They started with less than a dozen British-trained air force pilots with loaned jets from their former colonial master. Now, they have one of the most powerful air force in the region – all in a span of, what, three to four decades? These folks even lease bases outside their country!
There are days when I would be awoke from sleep because of the loud roaring noise from fighter jets passing over our place. I’m used to this as I had spent some years of my childhood in Olongapo when the US still had naval and air force bases there. Whenever I’m in Singapur I live near their air force base. I would spend a lot of time watching these planes do drills in the morning. Its quite a sight to see especially for an aviation enthusiast who never got the chance to fly.
Now unto another flight – the flight of the OFW’s. Many has been recently subjected to a lot of stress from coup de etat’s, political unrest and natural disasters in their host nations. A lot of these people are seeking assistance to be repatriated. It would be nice if we have an air force than can take them back home when the situations calls for it. I’m not suggesting that modernizing our air force and navy’s transporting capacity as the only solution, it could work, yes, but there are many other ways we can bring Filipinos back home. This is the least we can do for them. Instead of waiting for our commercial airliners, who really doesn’t care about their countrymen [a solon complained recently that airliners, who profits from the OFW’s, lack the interest to help], our government should have the ability to extract Filipinos abroad. A fleet of military transport planes and ships should always be on standby for them. After all they are our economy’s “cash cow”.
I remember that we use to have our C-130’s evacuate people from danger zones before. These workhorse are among the most reliable air transport in military aviation history – I heard that there’s only one left [ we own a pair I believe] operational and that the funds to maintain it were pocketed by the likes of Garcia. What a crying shame. Our government can’t even offer to bring back the Filipinos they call “bagong bayani” these days. So while our neighbors like Malaysia sends their Navy ships to protect their commercial ships and seamen passing the pirate infested seas near Africa, we struggle to even provide flights to repatriate Filipinos in danger.