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VP Sara Duterte authorized to use presidential helicopter: Air Force
ABS-CBN News
Posted at Sep 15 2022 12:05 PM
VP Sara Duterte poses beside the presidential helicopter. Photo from Inday Sara Facebook account
MANILA — Vice President Sara Duterte is authorized to use the presidential helicopter, a spokeswoman of the Philippine Air Force said Wednesday, amid talk that the second highest official is supposedly using the chopper for personal trips.
In an interview, PAF spokeswoman Col. Ma Consuelo Castillo said the Bell 412 helicopter posted by the Vice President on her social media account is part of the 250th Presidential Air Wing. 
"Base po sa mandato ng Presidential Airlift Wing of the Philippine Air Force, ang mga helicopters po ng 250 ay ginagamit sa mga movement ng ating presidente, ng first family, visiting heads of state, and other local and foreign VIPs," Castillo told CNN Philippines. 
(Based on the mandate of the Presidential Airlift Wing of the Philippine Air Force, the helicopters of the 250 are used for the movement of our President, the first family, visiting heads of state, and other local and foreign VIPs.)
"Ang mga local VIPs na tinutukoy dito ay ang ating mga high government officials and considering that our VP is the second highest leader of the land, nararapat lang po na bigyan natin ng suporta ang mga movements ng ating Vice President lalo na if she is acting or performing her mandate on behalf of the President."
(The local VIPs include our high government officials and considering that our VP is the second highest leader of the land, it is only right that we support the movements of our Vice President, especially if she is acting or performing her mandate on behalf of the President.) 
Castillo denied rumors that Duterte is using the helicopter to visit her children in Davao City. This, after the Vice President thanked President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. for allowing her to use the aircraft so she could be with her family.
"Thank you [President Bongbong] and your 250th [Presidential Airlift Wing] for ensuring that wherever I may be found in the country during the day, I am home in time to tuck my children to bed," Duterte said in a Facebook post, with a picture of her in the government aircraft.
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Duterte's spokesperson Atty. Reynold Munsayac noted the Vice President and her family are staying in Manila. 
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Some social media users have called out Duterte, saying she should be thanking taxpayers for sponsoring her helicopter trips. Others also slammed the move as an alleged display of privilege while most Filipinos dealt with problems in the public transport sector. 
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In the interview, the PAF spokeswoman denied that the presidential helicopter is being used daily. She pointed out that using the presidential helicopter to go to Davao would be irrational since the trip would take more than half a day. 
"Hindi po araw-araw ang paggamit ng ating helicopters, tulad po ng sinabing pag-uwi sa Davao. I presume po ang ina-assume nila is travel from Manila to Davao. I myself [am] a presidential helicopter pilot previously at kung gagamitin po natin ang helicopter from Manila to Davao, it will take almost more than half a day to travel kasi magkakaroon pa ng maraming stops for refueling," she said.
"Hindi po talaga rational and practical kung gagamitin ang helicopter natin sa pag-uwi sa Davao araw-araw especially if coming from Metro Manila."
(Our helicopters are not used daily. I presume they assumed it is used to travel from Manila to Davao. I myself am a presidential helicopter pilot previously and if we use the helicopter from Manila to Davao, it will take almost more than half a day to travel because there would be many stops for refueling. It is not rational and practical if the our helicopter would be used to go home daily to Davao, especially if coming from Metro Manila.) 
Castillo said that for official trips, the Office of the Vice President forwards a request to the Office of the President through the Presidential Security Group. Upon approval, a directive is forwarded through PSG to the Presidential Airlift Wing so that the Duterte can use the aircraft. 
Castillo declined to say how much the trips cost, adding it would be similar to the cost for flights of similar commercial aircraft. 
"I don't have the exact information how much it cost pero definitely po it would be the same cost for our, of the similar commercial aircraft. Kung titingnan na lang din po natin sa mga open sources ganun po ang cost po ng paggamit ng ating helicopters, pero of course for official functions po ang gobyerno po natin ang sasagot sa mga ganitong mga travel," she said. 
(If we look at open sources, the cost would be the same, but of course, for official functions, our government shoulders these trips.)
Read More:  sara duterte   presidential helicopter  presidential chopper   Philippine Air Force   transportation  politics  
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