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US military plane landing in Manila must be probed —Imee Marcos

Senator Imee Marcos has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the alleged unadvised landing of a United States military aircraft in Manila last Monday.

Marcos filed Senate Resolution 667 which questioned the purpose of the arrival of a Boeing C-17 strategic transport aircraft operated by the US military in Manila when its main destination was Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Citing a source, Marcos said the Manila International Airport Integrated Command and Control Center was not given any advisory on the arrival of the said aircraft.

The aircraft arrived at Manila International Airport at around 8:08 in the morning of July 26, 2023, according to the resolution.

The lawmaker said verification with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) revealed that the US Embassy issued an advisory to the Department of Affairs that an aircraft registered to the US military will enter and exit the territorial airspace of the Philippines in line with the KAPIT BISIG activities.

Information from CAAP as cited by Marcos indicated that the aircraft had nine military crew and one passenger on board and departed from Guam for Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The alternate airport of the aircraft for contingencies en route to Manila was Clark International Airport.

The US military aircraft supposedly departed from Manila International Airport on the same day at 6:10 p.m. or 10 hours after it arrived then arrived in Puerto Princesa at around 7:08 p.m.

Marcos said the foregoing events and circumstances raised the following questions:

-Whether the Manila International Airport Integrated Command and Control Center was given a prior advisory on the arrival of the US military aircraft

-The reason the US military aircraft landed at the Manila International Airport even though its true destination was Puerto Princesa, Palawan which also has an international airport

-The reason the said aircraft stayed at the Manila International Airport for 10 hours before departing for Palawan

-The C=cargo which the aircraft carried and whether part of such cargo was offloaded in any place other than in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

-The real number, as well as identity, of those onboard the military aircraft when it left Guam and whether any of the crew or passenger of the plane has a destination other than Puerto Princesa

-Whether the said military aircraft made any landing other than those in Manila and Puerto Princesa

-Why there was an apparent lack of coordination between the CAAP, the DFA and the Department of National Defense

“In light of the recently revealed US request for the Philippines to temporarily house Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants, the continued escalation of geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific Region, and the re-emergence of internal security threats, it is crucial for the State to carefully scrutinize the activities of foreign militaries in the country, particularly those which appear questionable or which are shrouded in secrecy,” Marcos said.

GMA News Online has sought the comment of CAAP and the US Embassy on the matter, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.—LDF, GMA Integrated News