General Sirilito Sobejana told AFP that the C-130 plane crashed while trying to land on Jolo Island in Sulu province.
Forty people were rescued from the burning rubbish and taken to hospital when 17 bodies were found at the scene.
“Paramedics and rescuers are at the scene, praying for us to save more lives,” Sobejana said.
“Too bad. The plane missed the road, and the way it handled it was unsuccessful and the plane crashed.”