Aquino arrives in Tarlac after emergency landing-A A +A
Friday, August 10, 2012
MANILA (3rd Update, 1:01 p.m.) -- President Benigno Aquino III and his official party arrived safely in Tarlac Friday morning hours after his aerial convoy made an emergency landing at Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).
Aquino was in Tarlac to visit flood-stricken communities in the province and in other parts of Central Luzon.
A television report said the President is currently making rounds in evacuation centers in the municipalities of Paniqui and Capas.
He is also scheduled to go to Dinalupihan in Bataan, San Fernando City in Pampanga and Obando and Malolos City in Bulacan.
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang said earlier that heavy rains and poor visibility have forced the President to make a precautionary landing at SCTEx.
"En route to Paniqui, Tarlac shortly before 9 a.m., the President's aerial convoy encountered heavy rains, forcing the chopper to land at the end of SCTEx," Carandang said in a text message. "We're all fine but we're all wet."
"It encountered (bad) weather so it landed for a while. When it [weather] was already clear, [it again flew] and landed at Camp Aquino," said Air Force spokesman Colonel Miguel Ernesto Okol.
Camp General Servillano Aquino is the home of the Air Force's Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 3 and of the military's Northern Luzon Command. The camp is adjacent to the Hacienda Luisita, where the President's family maintains a residence.
Okol said the presidential Bell helicopter, backed up by similar aircraft, landed at the SCTEx, particularly at the Luisita access road around 9:03 a.m. when it encountered the inclement weather.
Around 9:27, the aircraft is already in Camp Aquino, he said.
"There is nothing wrong with the [helicopter]. By procedure, when there is a [bad] weather, you have to land the helicopter. When the weather clears, you take off again. He [President Aquino] stayed there [SCTEx] briefly," said Okol.
He said the Presidential Security Group secured the aircraft and is now safe at the facility of TOG-3 in Camp Aquino in Tarlac.
Despite the minor delay, Carandang said the President still proceeded with his scheduled visit to flood victims in Tarlac by land.
"The convoy, after a slight delay, proceeded by land as scheduled to the areas to be visited by the President. The area at the end of SCTEx, which is San Miguel, is not occupied by much traffic, so there was no traffic disruption," the Palace official said.
The President's official party includes Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva, Aurora Representative Sonny Angara, former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros, and Carandang.
Since Wednesday, Aquino has been busy doing inspections of flooded areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces affected by floods spawned by monsoon rains. (Jill Beltran/VR/Sunnex)