Air Power in the Philippines has been around for almost a century since then it has continuously transformed into a more capable force and a partner for national development striving to become Southeast Asia’s best Air Force. Previous leadership established the foundation of the country’s air arm by passing a bill for its establishment. This period marks the advent of our pioneer pilots who first conquered the Philippine sky. In response to the emerging challenges to address internal security issues and territorial disputes, the government enhanced the PAF’s organizational structure to effectively manage the equipment and capability being provided thru US military aid.
Through the advances of time, PAF contributed to the socio–economic development, internal security operation against New People’s Army, lawless elements, maritime domain awareness, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response. It clearly demonstrates the capability of our Air Force in addressing both combat and non-combat operations.
With the long-standing maritime dispute the role of Air Power in our National Security must be addressed immediately, aggressive approach of our neighbors are manifested in the application of both Naval and Air Power not only to harass our fisherman but also to the military aircraft conducting a maritime patrol in the area even inside our maritime territory, With these the Philippine Government is planning to improve its Nation’s Air Arm to address those issues in the attainment of minimum credible defense posture considering the limitations in our budget, the limitations in our resources, we are taking these things one step at a time but for sure, we are moving forward, we are soaring high with our development as an organization, to discourse territorial dispute including the encroachment and illegal fishing activities in our area.
As stated in the Philippine Constitution, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is mandated as “the protector of the people and the state. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory.” Inherent to the mission and function of the AFP is the maintenance of control over the national territory, airspace, and territorial waters. The vast maritime approaches to the country constitute a major vulnerability to the country’s security.
We must learn from our mistakes of the past, during the peak of our glorious days we have the capability to address that problem, we can detect any intrusion, identify, intercept with our fighter jets, or even neutralize if they are armed. They think twice before trying to enter our guarded airspace until our capability slowly diminishes because of wear and tear, lack of logistical support to maintain, and high cost to operate, until such time they were able to extend their range of operation reaching our own backyard. In order to address such a problem, the Philippines is planning to acquire a number of platforms to effectively exercise our rights in the disputes sea, enhance our capability and upgrade our equipment. Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft will soon be taking off on our airbases to closely monitor the activity in our maritime domain to provide real-time awareness, Our Air defense radars will soon be operational and positioned geographically to work as the eyes and ears scanning our guarded airspace alongside with our Multi-Role Fighters in a case of intercepting identified hostile aircraft. This is on top of the improvement of its personnel capability and well-being such as training and schooling with the foundation of values ethics and faith that will develop highly skilled personnel capable of Multi-domain operations.
Those scenarios are possible to happen, with the support from the Air Force, AFP leadership, and most especially the Filipino people. this is a mere realization of our dream, a dream that is long-standing due to the changes in our economy and political setting, but one thing is certain with the capacity building that constitutes changes in the organization in terms of organizational, manpower, and competencies as part of a broader maritime and airspace security objectives with enable us to prevent infringements on our sovereignty and sovereign rights, and provide credible deterrence against external threat.