AFP gets chopper, rescue boats, trucks from MVP

Published January 8, 2021, 3:10 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

A BO 105 multi-purpose helicopter, six brand new rescue boats, three dry vans, and a wing van were the latest additions to the military’s assets as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) received Thursday various donations from business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP).

(Photo from AFP and PH Army / MANILA BULLETIN)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay, and Pangilinan took part in the ceremonial signing of the deed of donations at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. 

Also present during the turnover of the donations were Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, Commanding General of the Philippine Army; Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy; and Lieutenant General Allen Paredes, Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force.

The helicopter was turned over to the Army’s Aviation “Hiraya” Regiment which has been instrumental in the aerial reconnaissance and maritime patrols over Northern Luzon, Eastern Mindanao, and Western Mindanao Command.

The helicopter will be used to develop the Army Aviation Regiment’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) efforts, air ambulance capability, recoinnasaince operations, and maritime patrols over its areas of responsibility, said Colonel Ramon Zagala, Army spokesperson.

“It will also serve as an interim helicopter to train Army aviators and enhance PA’s overall capabilities to find, fix, and finish [the] enemies of the state,” he added.

Meanwhile, the six rescue boats that are equipped with paddles and life vests were equally distributed to the Army, Navy, and Air Force. 

The AFP General Headquarters, on the other hand, was the recipient of the dry vans and the wing van.

Further, the AFP also signed a memorandum of agreement with the Makati Medical Center Foundation (MMCF), which is also chaired by Pangilinan, for the renewal of their public–private partnership (PPP) to strengthen all the military treatment facilities (MTFs) nationwide. 

Through the pact, Gapay said that technical and medical experts from MMCF will continue to impart valuable knowledge to AFP medical personnel for the improvement of their services through various means without the additional financial burden.

“The knowledge and expertise you shared over the years through this agreement were invaluable in keeping our troops healthy. I am truly grateful for its renewal as we, in the AFP, begin to take major steps toward the accomplishment of one of our major advocacies in promoting our troops’ mental health which was regrettably neglected in the past years,” Gapay said. 

The AFP Chief expressed gratitude to Pangilinan for his “unwavering support to our organization.” 

“Even before this pandemic, his kindness and love for our country are deeply appreciated by our soldiers and the Filipino people. Rest assured that the AFP will do its part in this partnership and promises to serve our country with best of our capabilities,” Gapay said.

Meanwhile, Pangilinan vowed to continue supporting the uniformed services especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have always been supportive of government endeavors particularly in times of need. The nationwide presence of our businesses enables us to mobilize resources throughout the country and provide us with the means to augment the Government’s facilities to respond effectively to disasters and calamities,” Pangilinan said.