This Sunday, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) admitted that their helicopter that crashed in Bukidnon is old, but insisted that it is well-maintained.
According to PAF Spokesperson Lt Col. Aristides Galang, the helicopter underwent an inspection before being allowed to fly.
“‘Yong sinasabi natin na may kalumaan na, which is true naman po talaga. Pero ito pong mga equipment po natin, when it comes to part and component, puro brand new po yan,” said Galang in an interview with Teleradyo.
(It is really true that it is old. But these are our equipment, when it comes to part and component, it is all brand new.)
Seven passengers of the Huey UH-1H helicopter were killed after it crashed into the mountain of Sitio Nahigit, Barangay Bulonay in Impasug-Ong town, Bukidnon on Saturday afternoon.
The chopper came from the 403rd Infantry Brigade headquarters in Malaybalay City and was supposed to bring supplies to the camp in Impasug-Ong.
The remains of all the victims were recovered and taken to the funeral home in Malaybalay.
From Bukidnon, the remains of 4 Air Force personnel will be flown to Mactan Air Base in Cebu while the other 3 victims will be repatriated to their respective families in Bukidnon.
Helicopter that crashed in Bukidnon ‘old’ but well-maintained – Air Force
Huey UH-1H helicopters were first used during the Vietnam War from 1967 to the 1970s.
Several units were donated by the United States to the PAF.
But many of the helicopters are no longer in use because there are refurbished UH-1H model units purchased by the government from Singapore during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
There are also those being restored using new spare parts from Japan and returned to service in 2019.
The PAF will allegedly send personnel to inspect the crashed helicopter and conduct an official investigation into the incident.
In September 2020, an Air Force ambulance chopper that was on its way to pick up a bombing victim in Jolo, Sulu, crashed in Basilan province due to bad weather, killing its female pilot, a male co-pilot, and two male flight crew members.