09 Agustus 2016
Fokker 28 Philippine Presidential aircraft (photo : Global Aviation)
President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday announced his plan to convert the presidential plane into an air ambulance, saying that he’s already “comfortable” with commercial flights.
“I have also requested (National Defense) Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana to make the arrangement because I am giving up the presidential plane, convert it into an air ambulance,” he told the 500 soldiers of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division at Camp Lukban in Catbalogan, Samar late Monday afternoon.
The President also asked the Defense chief to study converting some Fokker planes of the Armed Forces of the Philippines into air ambulances as well.
“You’ll have about so many planes for the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Tutal ako komportable na ako sa PAL (Philippine Airlines) pati itong Cebu Pacific. Matagal namang walang nahulog diyan so okay na siguro ang mga eroplano nila (nobody has fallen from their planes for a long time so they must be okay),” he added in jest.
The Chief Executive said it’s up to the next President to acquire a presidential plane after his term.
During his 15-minute speech, he also bared his plan to use a small private plane for his travels.
“Sometimes I can use a jet plane, a small one kung may pang-gasolina. I just pay the gasoline, air, pati operational costs,” he said.
The President reiterated his campaign promise on converting presidential aircraft after detailing his plans for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center.
“Anything that can help you, we will give it to you,” he added.
The Air Force’s 250th Presidential Airlift Wing has been used for the air mobility of the President as well as the first family and visiting dignitaries.