The technical glitch of the country’s air traffic system that led to the disruption of all flights at the start of the year should prompt the implementation of long-term solutions, including the strengthening of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Senator Sonny Angara said today.
While the Senate Committee on Public Services is preparing investigate the January 1 incident that affected an estimated 65,000 airline passengers, Angara said the focus should be on two fronts-- pinpointing accountability and ensuring that the relevant systems and institutions are capacitated and empowered to prepare and respond to these occurrences, however rarely they take place.
Angara took note of the inclusion Senate Bill 1003, which he filed in August last year, in the issues to be taken up during the inquiry.
“We first filed the bill way back in 2018 upon the recommendation of the Safe Travel Alliance, with inputs from the CAAP. We refiled the bill in the current 19th Congress in recognition of the need to strengthen the CAAP as part of the efforts to ensure the safety, reliability and efficiency of air transport in our country,” Angara said.
Republic Act 9497 or the law that created the CAAP was enacted back in 2008 and as such Angara said that much needed reforms have to be introduced to address deficiencies in the supervision and management of the country’s aviation industry.
Under SB 1003, two new members will be added to the CAAP board namely the Secretary of Tourism and the Secretary of National Defense.
Two representatives from the private sector, who will be appointed by the President, will also sit in the CAAP board.
CAAP’s fiscal autonomy will be enhanced with the grant of an exemption from the coverage of Republic Act 7656 or the Dividend Law so that it could maximize the use of its revenues.
The bill also calls for the exemption of CAAP from the coverage of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) Law and the Salary Standardization Law in consideration of the highly technical nature of the functions of the agency.
“The technical glitch that took place last January 1 was a wake-up call for all of us about the need to address the gaps in our air transport systems and the CAAP is front and center in all of this, which is why we have to institute the necessary reforms to provide the agency the tools necessary to effectively fulfill its mandate,” Angara said.