Poe: CAAP, DOTr officials still liable for air traffic fiasco | Inquirer News
Clarification after committee report

Poe: CAAP, DOTr officials still liable for air traffic fiasco

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:34 AM March 11, 2023

Senator Grace Poe —Senate PRIB

No one’s flying the coop.

Senator Grace Poe on Friday said that some officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) would be held liable for the technical glitch that paralyzed the country’s airspace on New Year’s Day.


“I won’t allow Caap to get away with just a slap on the wrist,” said Poe, who led the Senate inquiry into the Jan. 1 incident as chair of the Senate public services committee.


“To be clear, no one is above accountability for the fiasco. Whether past or present administration, we will make sure they face the consequences,” she said.

READ: Poe: No one is above accountability for New Year airport fiasco

“Accountability follows, and definitely, not cast aside,” she said. “Ultimately, all of these are judgment calls of the past heads of both DoTr and Caap, for which they must answer.”

Poe issued the clarification three days after presenting to the Senate plenary the committee report on the sudden shutdown of the entire Philippine airspace that resulted in delays and cancellations of some 350 domestic and international flights, and inconvenienced over 65,000 passengers.

Leaving it to Caap

In the report, the Senate panel said it would let the Caap board “undertake the administrative investigation for disciplinary action on the culpability of any of its personnel” regarding the incident.

The senator, however, maintained that the results of the Senate investigation should not only find fault but also recommend measures that would improve the country’s air navigation systems and safe air travel.


She warned that just delving on finding fault might only force air traffic control personnel to leave the country for better-paying jobs abroad.

“There is still accountability to be exacted,” Poe said, “but to focus only on such would make this into another political circus that is counterproductive to our air safety efforts.”

“To turn this solely into a witch hunt would further drive away the decreasing number of technical air personnel that chose to stay in the country to serve,” she said.

READ: Senate panel report rules out sabotage, cyberattack in New Year’s Day airport fiasco

Koko to push raps

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he would also recommend the filing of appropriate charges against certain aviation and transportation officials during the chamber’s deliberations on the committee report.

Pimentel, a lawyer, said those responsible for the upkeep of Caap’s communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management (CNS/ATM) system and other equipment should be held administratively responsible at least.

Caap previously said that the CNS/ATM broke down due to a faulty circuit breaker and a technical glitch.

“If the negligence does not meet the requirements for criminal negligence, it must be an administrative issue or infraction,” Pimentel said at an online media briefing.

“I’m not saying that there’s criminal liability. If there’s none, then let’s not force it. We will follow the evidence,” he said. “But do not tell me that there’s no administrative liability. I think there is.”

Pimentel said the efforts to improve the operations of Caap and Ninoy Aquino International Airport should not just center on the procurement of new equipment.

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“If there’s no maintenance (work) and nobody is assigned to it, then we’re just fooling ourselves,” he said.

TAGS: Air Traffic, Aviation, CAAP, DoTr, Grace Poe, NAIA, New Year

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