PAF, Navy join search for missing Malaysian airplane

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Monday, March 10, 2014

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -– Vietnam and the Philippines are pulling efforts to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, hoping to find and determine what befell the airplane and its 239 passengers after it lost communication Saturday with air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur.

In Palawan, Philippines, the Western Command (Wescom), after receiving orders from Secretary Voltaire Gazmin of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to assist in the international search shortly after the incident, sent again Sunday morning a Fokker plane to back the three Philippine Navy (PN) patrol ships that are now in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

At 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Wescom commander General Roy Deveraturda ordered the Fokker plane to continue the Philippines’ assistance to the international search mission to find the Boeing 777-200ER of Malaysia Airlines.

The plane first flew Saturday morning toward the WPS in the area of Vietnam, where the airliner was believed to have crashed while on their way to Beijing, China.

BRP Apolinario Mabini, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, and BRP Emilio Aguinaldo of the Philippine Navy were sent on the same day with instructions from the Philippine government through the DND to provide humanitarian assistance regardless of an ongoing row with China over the WPS.

First Lieutenant Cherryl Tindog, spokesperson of the Wescom, said: “Now is not the time for the Philippines and China to mind their conflict over which has territorial jurisdiction in the WPS.”

“In times like this, where there is an emergency and a crisis, the AFP sets aside issues and conflicts to give way to the provision of help, humanitarian assistance for the welfare of the people,” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Tindog informed that the three navy patrol ships will remain in the WPS area as long as the Malaysian government still needs support in locating the missing airliner.

“The directive we were given by the national government through the DND is to continue in the humanitarian mission to find the missing aircraft until such time that an official statement is delivered by the Malaysian government that the airliner has been located,” she said. (PNA)

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