Military


Antonio Bautista Air Base

Antonio Bautista Air Base is located on the narrow island of Palawan, making it the closest Philippine air base to the disputed Spratly Islands. The base shares a single, 9,000 foot long runway with Puerto Princesa Airport. (Coordinates: 9o44'31.50 N, 118o45'31.39 E)

The air base was opened on 21 March 1975 after the Philippine Air Force made improvements to the already existing civilian airport runway to make it suitable for military aircraft. The base was named after Colonel Antonio Bautista, a former PAF pilot who was shot down and killed during a battle with Philippine rebels in January 1974.

The 570th Composite Tactical Wing was based at Bautista AB and flew reconnaissance missions over the Spratly Islands to monitor the activities of other claimant nations.

On 25 November 2007, an S-211 with 2 airmen aboard was dispatched from Bautista AB to search for a capsized ship and disappeared near the Kalayaan island chain, a series of 9 Spratly islands which the Philippines claims, but China partially occupies. The aircraft subsequently went missing. There was speculation that the Chinese military might have shot the plane down. However, the Philippine government's position was that the aircraft probably crashed due to pilot error.



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