DND calls Chinese refueling in Davao airport ‘not unusual’

Published June 11, 2018, 12:54 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Francis Wakefield

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said there is nothing unusual if a Chinese military plane landed in the country to refuel as other countries like the United States also do this.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (photo courtesy of the office of the Secretary of National Defense)

Lorenzana made the remark after he led the Department of National Defense (DND) and its bureaus in culminating the observance of the National Flag Days (May 28 – June 12) and in celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day during the Flag-raising Ceremony held at the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) covered court in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Lorenzana said as per the explanation made by the government, coordination was made by the crew on board the “Ilyushing II-76,” a strategic airlifter of the Chinese military, prior to landing at the Davao City International Airport.

Major Ezra L. Balagtey, the spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom), said the Chinese aircraft landed at the Davao International Aircraft at 11:30 a.m. last Friday (June 8, 2018) and immediately left at 1 p.m. after refueling.

“The explanation by our government is that it (the landing) has coordination with CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines). You know CAAP is the agency in charge with our airspace so they

have coordination to land in Davao to refuel then go to Australia. Upon returning it will refuel again that is the agreement so nothing unusual there,” Lorenzana said.

“Even other countries they do that. The Americans also land here to refuel,” he added.

Lorenzana said regardless if there is an MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty), if there is a need to refuel they can do so for as long as there is appropriate coordination.

He said if there is shortage of fuel, Philippine planes can also go to other countries for refueling purposes.

“We can land in another country, refuel, but we will have to have prior coordination, that’s what they did,” Lorenzana said.