Chinese Coast Guard elements have challenged the military transport planes carrying Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Ano to Pagasa Island Friday morning.
Pilots of the Airbus Military C-295 and Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” cargo aircraft received the challenge from Subi Reef, a Chinese-owned feature, some 30 to 40 nautical miles away from Pagasa Island.
“We replied that we are flying over Philippine territory,” Lorenzana said when asked for details regarding the Chinese challenge.
The Defense chief added that the challenge is automatic and part of the protocol of any country claiming jurisdiction on particular area especially when ships and aircraft passes through it.
Aside from the challenge, nothing untoward happened, Lorenzana stressed.
Other ranking officials aboard the two military aircraft are Army commander Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda and Western Command head Lt. Gen. Raul Del Rosario.
The former left Villamor Air Base, Pasay City around 6 a.m. and arrived in Pagasa Island around 8 a.m. along with other members of the media selected for this event. (PNA)