Busted: FA-50s Duterte criticized as “for ceremonial use only” were from South Korea, not US

President Rodrigo Duterte hit the United States anew when he “thanked” them for the two FA-50s (fighter jets), which he said were only used for “ceremonial” purposes only.

“We have received so many things from America. Thank you for your generosity. What they sold us, two, only two FA-50 (fighter jets). It’s FA-50 but they never gave us the missiles and the bullets and the cannons to fight. For ceremonial lang (only),” Duterte said.

This came after Duterte thanked China for building a rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija.

“What am I supposed to do? China helped to build rehab (centers). They’re bringing materials. Only China is helping us,” he said. “Next year there will be (rehabilitation centers). We’re preparing for it now. China is helping us. I would like to thank China for being so generous.”

However, Rappler’s Newsbreak reported that those FA-50 jets were not bought from the US, but from South Korea.

The fighter jets arrived in the Philippines in November 2015, according to Newsbreak. They were the first two of the 12 jets ordered brand new from South Korea. The rest will be delivered until 2017.

Newsbreak also reported that the FA-50 jets were bought as part of the P18.9 billion-contract signed in March 2014 by the Aquino administration as it pushed for the military’s modernization program.

According to the Korean Aerospace Industry, the FA-50 jet is a “light combat derivative of the T-50 supersonic advanced jet trainer.”

This is not the first time Duterte slammed the FA-50 jets. He was quoted saying this during a business forum in Davao City in June 2016 by Philippine Star: “We only have what two FA-50s? Why did you buy that? To the Air Force, do not misconstrue me. I’m a Filipino. I’m a citizen of this country and I have every right to say what I want to say. Sayang ang pera dun. You cannot use them for anti-insurgency, which is the problem at the moment. You can only use these for ceremonial fly-by.”

According to, the FA-50 jets “can carry a weapons load of up to 4.5 tons. The aircraft can be armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground tactical missiles (AGM), GBU-38/B Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapon (SFW), Mk-82 Low Drag General Purpose (LDGP) bombs and Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs).”

The jets are also equipped with Radar Warning Receiver, Night Vision Imaging System, and the Counter Measure Dispenser System, according to Newsbreak’s report.

Newsbreak noted that in his speech in Indonesia on Friday, September 9, Duterte could be referring to the F-16 fighter jets from the US.

You can see Duterte talking about the fighter jets he mistakenly said to be from the Americans at around 44:30 in the video below:


Sources: (,,

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