Ex-DOTr chief Tugade suggests CAAP improvements
MANILA, Philippines — Former Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday suggested ways to improve the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
The Senate Committee on Public Services is looking into the New Year’s Day air traffic fiasco after the CAAP’s navigation system failed.
Tugade was a resource person during the hearing in the Senate.
The former Transportation secretary’s first suggestion is to limit CAAP’s functions to regulation. Tugade said that airport operations should be left to the private sector.
“Nu’n pa lagi ko na sinasabi dapat regulatory ka lang. Huwag ka mag-operate ng airport. Iwan mo sa mga pribado ‘yan nang sa ganu’n meron kang check and balance,” he said.
(Even before, I always said that CAAP should only have a regulatory function. Don’t operate airports. Leave that to the private sector so there will be a check and balance.)
Second, CAAP staff should have higher compensation as it is critical to the safety and security of the public, said Tugade.
“Dapat pangalagaan ‘yung mga nagtatrabaho sa tower at traffic,” he said.
(Tower and traffic workers should be taken care of.)
He added that there should be a detailed training program to ensure staff succession.
Third, Tugade said that there should be a second service agreement.
“Kung aasa lang tayo sa internal, magkakaroon ho tayo ng problema diyan. Kailangan magkaroon tayo ng second service agreement kung kinakailangan,” he pointed out.
(If we depend on the internal of the agency, we will have a problem with that. We need to have a second service agreement if needed.)
Fourth, parts of CAAP’s budget should also be scrutinized by Congress, Tugade raised.
Since CAAP is a government-owned or -controlled corporation, its budget does not pass through Congress.
“Pag-aralan niyo ho na kung saan — and I’ve been advocating for this — meron kang cut kung ano ‘yung dadaan dito. Huwag ho tayong pumayag na [dahil] GOCC ‘yan, absolute ‘yan, full autonomy,” Tugade stressed.
(Study — and I’ve been advocating for this — the feasibility of having a part of its budget that will pass here. Let us not allow them absolute and full autonomy just because it is a GOCC.)
Lastly, Tugade said choosing CAAP leaders should have a “holistic approach.”
“‘Pag pipili ka ng head ng management saka attached agencies kagaya ng CAAP — Kung CAAP, bakit kailangan piloto lang ang qualification niyan?” he explained.
(When you choose a head of management and attached agencies like CAAP — If CAAP, why would you only list pilot as a qualification?)
“Kailangan marunong ka mag-manage, marunong ka magbasa ng financial statement. Meron kang aspeto ka ng engineering,” the former secretary went on.
(He/she has to know how to manage and read financial statements and have an engineering aspect.)
Meanwhile, Tugade reiterated that he is not involved in any alleged diversion of funds intended for the modernization or redundancy of the CAAP’s system.
CAAP’s system failure on January 1, affected at least 65,000 passengers, prompting senators to file resolutions to look into the incident.