Senator Imee Marcos has filed Senate Resolution 667, calling for an investigation into the mysterious activity of a U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 in Philippine territory and airspace Monday.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said the inquiry would discuss the U.S. military’s possible violation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“No prior advisory on the flying elephant’s arrival reached the Airport Integrated Command and Control Center at NAIA,” the senator said, citing a confidential source.
“This raises questions of sovereignty, not just air travel safety,” Marcos said.
A provision in Section 8 of the VFA states that “aircraft operated by or for the United States armed forces shall observe local air traffic control regulations while in the Philippines.”
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said the U.S. Embassy had informed the Department of Foreign Affairs and gained diplomatic clearance number DSN-0659-KB-JUN-US-2023 for a U.S. military plane supporting joint Philippine-U.S. activities under Kapit Bisig.
But Marcos said questions remain about the plane’s mission, the identities of its flight crew and lone passenger, the type of its cargo, and the reason for a 10-hour layover in Manila.
“What we know so far is that the plane came from Guam, was on its way to Puerto Princesa, and proceeded to Honolulu,” she said.
“It is crucial for the State to carefully scrutinize the activities of foreign militaries in the country, particularly those which appear questionable or are shrouded in secrecy,” the senator emphasized.
The upcoming Senate inquiry will be the second that Marcos has called for in two weeks to discuss the lack of transparency in U.S. military activities in the Philippines.
A previous hearing made public a U.S. government plan to relocate up to 50,000 Afghans to the Philippines while their special immigrant visa applications remain stranded in a bureaucratic backlog.