Press Release
August 18, 2010


SENATOR Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. expressed concern on the existence of fly-by-night aviation schools in the country as he said that it might affect further the Philippines ' category in international aviation organizations.

The senator, chairman of Senate Committee on Public Services, directed the Civil Aviation of the Philippines (CAAP) to strictly monitor the operation of 58 flying schools and to regularly conduct audits to ensure that they are complying with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements.

The order was issued after Capt. Manuel Velasco, one of the CAAP inspectors, confirmed that there are some aviation schools which violated the ICAO regulations in facilitating licenses for its students.

"We are trying so hard to regain category 1 status by improving our airport facilities, but we will still fail if the pilots we are producing are poorly trained," the senator stated.

In an initial investigation conducted by the aviation agency, four flying schools - Strike Wing Aviation Training Center , National Aviation Specialist Academy , Aviation Link and Manila Aviation - were suspended because they failed to meet ICAO standards.

The CAAP is also investigating some unscrupulous flying schools that allow its students to graduate for a hefty amount without meeting the required 200 hours for commercial flights.

According to CAAP head Alfonso Cusi, Japan has stopped sending students here because of the alleged corrupt practices of some flying schools and training centers.

Bong Revilla said the Philippines has so much potential in the aviation industry.

The senator noted that the global recession works to our advantage as more foreign students, especially from China , Nepal , India and the Middle East , opt to train here.

"We are able to produce fine pilots. It is in fact proven because international airlines have been pirating our pilots. We have the cheapest training schools here," he said.

He added that the country's tropical weather offers good conditions and consistent training for flying.

"We also have vast area for flying. Unlike in other countries, there are many restricted places, the weather is inconsistent and the training fee is too expensive," Bong Revilla added.

The senator ordered the CAAP to be strict in issuing permits to operate to flying schools and issuing licenses to its students.

He underscored that producing good pilots and skilled aviation workers is one of the requirements to satisfy the ICAO standards.

Bong Revilla said satisfying ICAO standards is the key to regain category 1 status. In 2008, the US and European Union's international aviation safety audit downgraded the Philippines to category 2, which made flight expansion to the US and European countries impossible.

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