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Roxas not on board

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Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla were not on board the Sokol chopper that crashed in Marawi on Thursday.

Secretary Roxas himself immediately clarified reports by posting on Twitter saying: “Thanks for the concern, everyone. Volts [Gazmin] and I are safe. We were not in the chopper that was reported to have crashed.”

A Sokol chopper, carrying military officers who were part of the aircraft convoy of the three Cabinet secretaries, made an emergency landing inside Camp Ranao in Marawi City shortly after it took off.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya said in a radio interview that the crash happened around 2:30 p.m. and is still being investigated.

No one died in the crash while two were reported hurt, one pilot and one civilian.

The Sokol chopper was one of the eight helicopters acquired by the government from Poland. The first four arrived in 2012 while the rest arrived last year. The Philippines spent P2.8 billion for the acquisition of the helicopters.

The three Cabinet officials reportedly had an official engagement at the Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative.

Secretary Roxas and Gazmin arrived safely in  Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro. Secretary Petilla was also safe. 

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