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Wounded yet fighting for the Filipino

I watch a lot of air documentaries and one of those that I had watched is the story of a World War II B-17 bomber named "Old 666" piloted by a brave soul named Captain Zeamer. During WWII, the aircraft was to embark on a mapping mission over Bougainville.



The aircraft was to fly alone, hence, the reason to arm it with additional .50 caliber machine guns to protect against fighters, particularly the deadly Japanese fighter A6M Zero. As the B-17 was on its mapping mission, more than 5 Japanese Zero fighters from all directions came to intercept the lone bomber. The Japanese fighters attacked "Old 666" strafing it, injuring its pilots and killing one. However, the bomber fought it out using its extra guns as it was accomplishing its mapping mission. 

Heavily wounded and battered wherein fire even erupted from the bullet riddled aircraft, the bomber continued to fight while holding its course to continue mapping. The eventually crew claimed downing 5 Japanese fighters despite it suffering substantial damage. The heavily wounded bomber completed its mission and was able to do an emergency landing in an allied air strip in Papua New Guinea.

Against all odds and despite being wounded, "Old 666" accomplished its mission.

This story reminds me of the "war" Philippine Airlines is battling. The airline is badly wounded, all caused by the "bullets" brought by this coronavirus pandemic and its past losses but yet, the airline keeps fighting to fly and to accomplish its mission, and that is to fly Filipinos home.


In the middle of this pandemic, PAL keeps pushing itself through all adversities to carry important duties:
  • Fly stranded Filipinos and OFWs back to the Philippines
  • Fight CoviD-19 by flying cargo supplies like medical equipment and supplies needed in the fight against the dreaded virus.
  • Unite families in the middle of a pandemic gripping the world
This is the type of resilience PAL carries in its bloodlines.

The airline is battle hardened. From the 9/11 attacks to the SARS crisis, MERS-CoV, financial crisis, and old crisis that have gripped global aviation in the past, PAL has survived them all. However, this CoviD-19 is different and its a battle heavily wounding the airline due to the months long suspension of passenger flights.

The present crisis may be the most challenging for the airline but it shows no signs of giving-up its mission for the country and the Filipino. Despite all the challenges, PAL continues to fly a lot of repatriation flight, sometimes pushing the boundaries and limitations to fly the distance for our Filipinos like its recent Manila to Miami flight to fly home Filipino seafarers. 

From the time this CoviD-19 crisis blew, the airline has flown numerous domestic sweeper flights to fly back stranded foreign nationals. It has embarked on special flights to the USA, Australia, Europe, and countries in Asia to bring home Filipinos. 

While its commercial flights remain suspended due to government imposed travel restrictions, it however continues to fly cargo and to operate special repatriation flights around the world.

Just like "Old 666", the airline carries extra "defenses" like PPEs for their cabin crew in order to protect them against the devastating effect of the CoviD-19.

Photo credits: @starallianceman

PAL president Gilbert Sta. Maria said, "We’re not giving up. We’ve been around for 80 years, and we will be around for a while longer, performing an essential service."

Wounds will heal, damages can be repaired, but leaving a legacy of accomplishing a mission against all odds is for a lifetime. PAL is going through the toughest of tough times, an even greater crisis than what it has endured before, but being battle hardened, I am very confident they will make it through.

Nothing beats having a "heart" to win. PAL continues to defy the odds because it carries with it the "heart" of a champion were giving up is never an option. It will continue to serve the Filipino people and our motherland, carrying with it our country's name and a brave heart of every Filipino.

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