Press Release
September 10, 2012


After four years since its creation and four replacements of its director general, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is still lacking of qualified technical personnel and modern equipment for it to regain the first class status of the country's civil aviation industry.

This was greatly lamented by Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. during the en banc meeting of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the CAAP (COCCAAP) he presided over today to monitor the proper implementation of Republic Act 9497, also known as " Civil Aviation Act of 2008", the law that paved the way for the establishment of the said agency.

Revilla disclosed that since the enactment of RA 9497, the COCCAAP had convened several times wherein it has asked the officials CAAP what kind of assistance they need in order to revert the status of Philippine civil aviation to Category 1 after it was downgraded to Category 2 by the US-based Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). "This is aside from our blacklisting by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).which blocks our carriers from flying to and from European countries. After four years since the establishment of CAAP, four replacements of its leadership, as well as several en banc meetings where we were assured that the civil aviation industry is on the right track towards Category 1, we are still far away to achieve that status," said Revilla, chairman of COCCAAP.

Inquiries of the senator to the present officials of CAAP revealed that it still have not fully addressed the Significant Safety Concerns raised by FAA and ICAO. "One of the Safety Concerns is the hiring of Qualified Technical Personnel (QTP). CAAP admitted that this requirement is not fully complied. We are asking them to set a time frame to fulfil this obligation. What we need is concrete measures, not pending promises," the lawmaker said.

Also discussed during the meeting was the Robredo plane crash which revealed the insufficient equipment of CAAP needed to effectively respond to emergency cases. "Among the prerequisites for us to regain the Category 1 status and be excluded from the EU's blacklist is to have at least two fire trucks per airport. I believe CAAP has enough funds to purchase these fire trucks and other stand by equipment in case there is impending plane accident," Revilla pointed out.

The lawmaker also expressed dismay over the reported issuance of license to flying schools that does not even own a single airplane and the alleged "free rides" given by plane operators to CAAP employees inspecting their airplanes. "How could they produce qualified pilots if there is no hands-on flight training? Even these flying schools rent planes from other flying schools, I doubt if their students can have the proper pilot skills with the limited actual training."

"What is the purpose of the free rides other than to be lax in the conduct of inspection? This is tantamount to indirect bribery. We are putting the lives of the airplane passengers and pilots at risk here," Revilla added.

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