Philippine military plans upgrades of Central Command’s air, naval assets

Posted on June 27, 2015

PLANS are underway to improve the air and naval assets and support facilities of the Cebu-based Central Command (CENTCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), its Air Force chief said on Friday.

More hangars will be put up for fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, and helicopters, Philippine Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey F. Delgado said.

“We will hopefully increase the number of aircraft here when the new aircraft arrives. Because of its (CENTCOM) strategic location, it can support both northern Luzon and the southern part of the Philippines,” said in an interview.

Upgrades for CENTCOM will increase the country’s additional capacity to conduct increased maritime patrol and surveillance over its western and southern territories, a region that is also claimed by China.

The CENTCOM, which is supported by more than 14,000 soldiers including personnel from the Philippine Airforce’s 2nd Air Division (Tactical Air Operations), the Third and the Eight Infantry Division, the 53rd Engineer brigade and the Philippine Navy’s Naval Forces Central, is about a thousand kilometers away from the area region in South China Sea, where China is conducting massive reclamation activities.

Besides the CENTCOM, the AFP has five other unified commands including the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) in Tarlac, the Western Command (WesCom) in Palawan, the Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) in Lucena, Quezon, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) in Davao, and the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) in Zamboanga.

Reports of the Philippines’ military asset upgrades come at a time now that Manila and Beijing are locked in a territorial dispute over the South China Sea.

China, through it’s nine-dash line claim asserts ownership of about 90% of the entire South China Sea -- a region which is also claimed by the Philippines as being under its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). -- Alden M. Monzon