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07 FEBRUARY 2016

bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Former Cagayan De Oro Airport to serve as storage depot for equipment to be used for rescue operations, says Palace official

Former Cagayan De Oro Airport to serve as storage depot for equipment to be used for rescue operations, says Palace official
 
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. has clarified that Cagayan de Oro's Lumbia Airport would serve as storage depot for equipment necessary for rescue operations during calamities.

Coloma made the clarification following reports that Lumbia Airport would be converted into into a US military depot.

Lumbia airport, which is five kilometers southwest of Cagayan de Oro, stopped commercial operations after the opening of the new airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental in 2013.

"Nais nating linawin (na) ang tinutukoy na pasilidad ay isang storage depot para sa kagamitang nakalaan sa mga kalamidad. Bahagi ito ng programang HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) na mahalagang elemento ng Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Sa panahon ng bagyo, lindol o iba pang kalamidad, makatutulong ang pasilidad na ito sa agarang paghatid ng tulong at kalinga sa mga apektadong komunidad," said Coloma in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.

The 500-hectare Lumbia Airport complex is currently home to the 10th Tactical Operations Group of the Philippine Air Force.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Saturday confirmed the conversion of the Lumbia Airport into a military depot. He also said the use of the airport is covered by EDCA.

"Ang pagkaunawa natin doon sa loob ‘nung dating Lumbia Airport dahil ito ay napalitan na, mayroon nang ibang airport para sa lugar na ‘yan, bahagi lang ito ng kabuuan ng area na tinutukoy ni Secretary Gazmin ay ‘yung pagtatayo lamang ng isang physical facility na gagamitin bilang storage facility. Dahil alam naman po natin hindi na po pinahihintulutan ngayon ‘yung base militar at ang ipinaiiral po ay ‘yung Visiting Forces Agreement na kung saan ay rotating presence lamang po ang pinahihintulutan," explained Coloma.

"Ang pagtukoy sa mga lugar na maaaring gamitin ng Pilipinas at Estados Unidos ay kailangang pagkasunduan pa ng dalawang bansa. Sa panig ng Pilipinas, ang pagbabatayan natin ay ‘yung kagalingan ng ating bansa at kapakanan ng ating mga mamamayan. ‘Yan ang paninindigan ng ating panig sa pagpupulong ng Mutual Defense Board at ng Security Engagement Board," said the Palace official.

"At dito naman sa EDCA, ang isang elementong bago ngayon ay ‘yung pag-focus doon sa humanitarian assistance and disaster relief dahil batid naman po natin, kapag sumasapit ang mga kalamidad, first responders po ‘yung ating Sandatahang Lakas dahil sila ay organisado, mayroon po silang kagamitan, at integral na bahagi na ito ng kanilang misyon—‘yung pagbibigay ng agarang tulong sa ating mga mamamayan sa pagsapit ng mga kalamidad," Coloma further said.

The Supreme Court has declared the EDCA constitutional. The EDCA allows increased US military presence in the country and the use of Philippine military bases by the foreign troops. PND (jm)

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