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Basa Air Base today

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In the heydays of the Basa Air Base, it used to be the home of the elite Philippine Air Force (PAF) 5th Fighter Wing’s Blue Diamond Aerobatics Team and other tactical jet fighters flying above our heads. Those were the golden days of the guardians of the Philippine skies.

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The air force base, once known as the Floridablanca Airfield, was built and used by the United States Army Air Corps prior to the World War II. Named after our own Air Force hero, Cesar Basa, it was once a vital air facility for the war.

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Back then, the Blue Diamond Team ruled the Philippine skies, showcasing how our Philippine Air Force was capable and equipped to guard our country from local dissidents and foreign invaders. The team highlights Filipino jet pilots’ skills and proficiency in flying fighter aircrafts.

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As a young civilian back then, I was too proud of the Philippine Air Force capability as it was even recognized in other countries in the Asian region–the glory that soon faded due to economic setbacks suffered by our country, affecting too the once famous Basa Air Base.
I become sad whenever the PAF is said to be only full of “air” but not with the “force”.

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A few days ago, Brig. General Raul Del Rosario, commander of the 1st Air Defense Wing, has offered Basa Air Base as a venue for various sports activities such as basketball, football, golf, mountain bike race, track and field, swimming, and others. He proudly said of the military air base as with complete sports facilities like an oval, a baseball and soccer field, basketball courts, swimming pools, a golf course and bike tracks, among others.

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While the Basa Air Base has not much with aircrafts today, it offers another function such as a venue of sports and other outdoor tourism activities. Since the air force camp is located in a vast land area, it’s a great venue, too, for other functions such as exhibits, parades and festivals. Aside from housing active soldiers, there are also facilities for athletes’ rests.

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Sadly, the Basa Air Base seems to deviate from its function as a military base brought about by the low budget allocated for the Philippine military. We have been left behind by our military counterparts in Asia, being one of the poorest Armed Forces in the world.

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Memories of the great days of the Basa Air Base are still vivid in mind. Without intending to be so, I am being sad thinking the fact that the former home of our country’s elite Air Force unit is being reduced into a sport facility. It has still its function anyway. That is Basa Air Base today.

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