AFTER claiming the Philippines elections in a landslide victory, Rodrigo Duterte says he now plans to sell off the presidential yacht.
According to GMA News, Duterte said he also wanted all aircraft assigned to the Presidential Airlift Wing to be converted as “air ambulances”.
Duterte said this after holding a meeting with prospective chiefs of the nation’s security forces.
According to the news site, the Presidential yacht, named the BRP Ang Pangulo, was built in Japan and acquired by the Philippine government in 1959 as part of Japan’s war reparations to the country.
However, Duterte did not announce the going price for the vessel, as it would be sold to the highest bidder.
The yacht was first used by former President Carlos P. Garcia.
In 1962, the ship was converted into a troop transport vessel and was renamed after President Manuel Roxas, who is the grandfather of Mar Roxas, who ran for president in the latest election and finished a far second to Duterte.
As for the aircraft Duterte intends to convert into air ambulances, defense website Globalsecurity.org listed the Fokker F-28, Fokker F-27 Friendships, S-70 Blackhawks, S-76s, SA-330 Pumas, and Bell 412s among the aircraft in the air force’s 250th Presidential Airlift Wing which was used to ferry the President, dignitaries, and VIPs.
The airlift wing, or Bluebirds, had recently courted controversy after Kris Aquino, who is the sister of outgoing president Benigno Aquino, was spotted using a Bell 412 helicopter during the recent presidential campaign.
President Aquino was previously criticized for having several helicopters at his disposal while none were available to transport wounded soldiers.