The Philippines should take advantage of its warm relationship at the moment with the United States of America. In fact it should exploit that military defense relationship to wrangle more concessions as well as military equipment and armaments from the good old US of A. For instance not many may know about this but the US is buying back F-5E (single seater) and F-5F (double seater) tiger fighter jets it originally sold to Switzerland way back in the 70’s. according to the US The reason for this jet fighter buy-back is for training purposes.

Now what exactly is this F-5 jet fighter that has already been in service for around 35 years? A little backgrounder on this plane shows the following : “There are two main models, the original F-5A a n d F-5B Freedom Fighter variants and the extensively updated F5E and F-5F Tiger II variants. The design team wrapped a small, highly aerodynamic
fighter around two compact and high-thrust General Electric J85 engines, focusing on performance and a low cost
of maintenance. Smaller and simpler than contemporaries such as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, the F5 cost less to procure and operate, making it a popular export aircraft.

Though primarily designed for a day air superiority role, the aircraft is also a capable ground-attack platform. The F-5A entered service in the early 1960s. During the Cold War, over 800 were produced through 1972 for US allies.
( wiki/Northrop_F-5)” If the last sentence in the description and identification of the plane is accurate then in 1972 perhaps the Philippines was a recipient of may be one or two of these F-5 jet fighters considering that it was already an ally of the US. However, if you look at a list of equipment of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) posted in the social media it appears as if the country was never given, never mind being allowed to borrow, any F-5 plane from the US.

So right now considering the entreaties being made by the US in having a closer relationship with the Philippines and using all kinds of justification such as the Taiwan concern and the South China Sea tension, this is the best time for the Philippines to start demanding some quid pro quo from the US after concessions were granted to the US additional military bases in the archipelago through the revived Enhanced Defense Cooperation (EDCA). These
additional military bases will allow the US a bigger footprint in the country but actually does not take into consideration what the Philippines will get out of this deal except perhaps that of a protectee from “big brother”.

In fact if you wish to check the details on these so called filipino-american military bases they are in fact areas where the US can pre-position war material which they will need in case of hostilities. For example, the Marctan-Benito
Abuen Air Base in Cebu which is one of the EDCA sites will only house a US fuel storage facility with a total budget
allocation of the project in the amount of 2.7 million dollars. Ditto with the Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan where it will house a US ammunition warehouse, fuel storage and a command and control infrastructure with the project having a total worth of 1.8 million dollars.

This is also the same in another identified EDCA site at Basa Air Base in Pampanga where it will eventually house a US command and control infrastructure, fuel storage, a humanitarian assistance and disaster response warehouse
(whatever that means), runway improvements and aircraft parking. All of these things that will be placed inside these EDCA sites will be for the benefit of the US Military. If that’s the case then the Philippines might as well demand some kind of return for these concessions such as asking the US to share some of these F-5 jet fighters with the country so that our airforce pilots can have additional training jets to hone their skills in flying.

This ties in nicely with the intent of the US in buying back these F-5 planes from Switzerland which is actually to
use them in training their pilots in air warfare. Of course if the US is hesitant to share these planes with the country the government can always demand for a re-negotiation of the EDCA. It is important for the US to understand that while they are making preparations for any eventuality it is their responsibility to also prepare the Philippines for whatever contingencies that may arise. If we are truly their allies.

Amianan Balita Ngayon