Palace confirms another Chinese plane landed in Davao

By Michael Punongbayan, Alexis Romero | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang confirmed yesterday that another Chinese plane had landed in Davao City but clarified the aircraft followed local protocols.

The Chinese plane landed at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport minutes past noon last Saturday, according to previous reports. The landing happened two weeks after a Chinese military aircraft landed in the city and stirred speculations about China’s activities in the Philippines.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Chinese plane had a stopover in Davao City to refuel.

“(The purpose was the) same as (the purpose of the) first (landing). They stopped to refuel with all permits issued by our authorities,” Roque said in a text message.

“All licenses, permits and protocols (were) issued and observed,” the spokesman added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also confirmed this. “Yes, we know about it and it has prior clearance to land,” he told reporters, adding that the aircraft came at noon and left around 2 p.m.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, commander of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC), said the Chinese military transport plane this time refueled on its way back to China from New Zealand.

He said there was nothing extraordinary about the incident as the Civil Aviation Authority (CVA) approved the landing and refueling. He added that it was also coordinated with the DND and that such aircraft also landed in other countries like Indonesia to refuel.

Earlier this month, an IL-76 Chinese military transport plane made a technical stop in Davao City to refuel, boosting speculation on China’s intensifying presence in the Philippines.

Officials maintained that the aircraft, which was bound for Cairns, Australia coordinated with aviation authorities and complied with procedures. They claimed that the same courtesy is extended to Philippine government planes when technical stops need to be undertaken in other countries.

Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua had described notions that China is planning to invade the Philippines as “nonsense.”

“I’m really puzzled and even surprised that some of the people here (are) taking the landing of Chinese military jets as a kind of military threat to the Philippines. And even they indicated that this might be the beginning of our invasion,” the envoy told reporters in Cavite last June 12.

“Please allow me to be blunt, it’s nonsense. We have never thought of going to war with our good neighbor, our good friend that is the Philippines,” he said.  

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