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Why so many US planes in PH airspace – Imee

July 10, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 155 views

SEN. Imee Marcos questioned the presence of yet more C-17 Globemasters of the U.S. Air Force in Manila and Palawan.

Marcos’ query comes a day after the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which she chairs, released a statement on a similar military plane that landed in Manila last week but which US flight planners failed to coordinate beforehand with ground handlers at Manila’s international airport.

Global flight tracker AirNav Systems revealed that at 6:03 a.m. on Friday, a U.S. Air Force C-17 with flight code MC244 / RCH244 landed in Manila after leaving the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

Upon landing, it then flew to Palawan before 1 p.m. and headed for Yokota Air Base in Fussa, Japan later in the afternoon.

Although the plane’s call signal was repeatedly out of coverage during its journey, flight tracker Flightradar24 recorded its departure from Palawan shortly before 4 p.m., Manila time and its arrival at Yokota Air Base at around 9:30 p.m., Japan time.

The flight route from Palawan showed the plane passing over Pampanga, Cagayan and off the eastern coasts of Batanes and Taiwan before it landed at the Yokota Air Base.

Passengers on commercial flights to and from Manila’s international airport noticed two US military planes near the runway and shared pictures with Marcos’ office.

On Saturday, a C-17 that took off from Tokyo the night before with flight code RCH323 was spotted north of Busuanga past 10 a.m. and was off the radar until late afternoon when it again appeared in the same vicinity flying toward Polillo Island before exiting the Philippine territory past 6 p.m.

“Too little is known about ongoing U.S. military activity in our territory while we constantly call out the presence of Chinese vessels in the South China Sea,” the senator noted.

Marcos also called on Philippine military, defense, and foreign affairs officials to determine if covert US military flights aggravated the already tense situation in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait and to weigh the risks to public safety.