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PAYING TRIBUTE | City flies flag at half-mast in honor of soldiers in C-130 crash in Sulu




Photo by Bing Gonzales

THE CITY Government will fly the flag at half-mast from July 5 to July 9 to honor the soldiers who perished in the tragic C-130 crash in Sulu. 

“We are also offering our prayers to the survivors. May you find strength and comfort in the millions of Filipinos who share your grief and pain,” the city said in a statement released to the press. 

According to, Captain Jonathan Zata, the Public Affairs Office Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (PAO,AFP), said most of the passengers were fresh graduates from military training.

All remains were recovered and the identification is ongoing. He said that dental records are available to help identify the remains.

“The AFP is in control. We will not allow any disruption during the investigation,” he said.

For now, Zata said the investigation is ongoing to determine why the aircraft overshot the runway.  “We assure the families/kin that they will receive the necessary assistance/ benefits that they are entitled to,” he added.

AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana  is proceeding in Sulu today.

“We appeal to the public to avoid speculations. We assure you that the AFP will be transparent in the conduct of the investigation. We are going to look into for the blackbox or the flight data recorder,” he further said.

He belied the rumors that the aircraft was defective. While it was not brand new, it was in very good condition as it still had 11,000 flying hours left. 

“We have to wait for the result of the investigation as to whether the flight exceeded the desired number of passengers,” he added. 

But he said that not all results of the investigation would be revealed to the public for security reasons.  “We have to be deliberate and accurate and we are doing our best to conclude it at the soonest time possible,” he added. 

Also, Zata said that they are not sure if any of the survivors are in critical condition.

According to initial reports, the death toll in the crash already climbed to 50. It was billed to be the worst military plane disaster in decades. The flight manifest listed 96 passengers, apart from the three pilots and five crew members. Three civilians also perish and four others were injured.

The AFP has four C-130s, including the one that crashed. One is ground and two are undergoing maintenance. Sobejana said that the humanitarian aid and disaster relief of the government would be hampered by the grounded air assets. But he assured that contingency measures are in place and they are using their other resources to achieve their objectives. 

“I have ordered a full investigation to get to the bottom of the incident, as soon as the rescue and recovery operation is completed,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a previous statement.

“As we commiserate with the pilots, crew, and passengers of the ill-fated aircraft as well as their families, I ask everyone to join us in praying for them,” he added.

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