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Immediate Upgrade of CAAP Electrical Equipment needed ASAP


A top level meeting of aviation authorities following the technical glitch that affected flights nationwide was held, where it was agreed that the upgrade of existing facilities and replacement of affected equipment are the immediate courses of action that need to be taken.

Heads of various agencies who were briefed yesterday on January 3, 2023 at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) compound expressed this concern following the New Year’s Day suspension of flight operations in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Clark, Mactan, Davao and other CAA- operated airports.

Following CAAP’s report that its investigation traced the most likely cause of the glitch, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy offered to assist CAAP in expediting acquisition.

“We will give our full support to DOTr and CAAP at resolving this issue,” Uy assured Bautista.

National Security Adviser Prof. Clarita Carlos suggested to declare such communications and electrical equipment as vital to national security, thereby facilitating any purchase and prevent a repeat of the incident.

CAAP likewise informed Prof. Carlos and Department of National Defense (DND) Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino, Jr. that this does not appear to be a cybercrime because affected electrical equipment cannot be manipulated from outside CAAP compound. Nonetheless, a review will still be conducted by cyber-security experts.

Prof. Carlos added that the breakdown of vital infrastructure, such CAAP’s CNS-ATM system, constitutes a threat to national security and thus the need for immediate action.

After the top-level meeting, heads and representatives of DOTr, DICT, DND, National Intelligence Coordination Agency (NICA), and Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) inspected the affected equipment and facilities inside CAAP.

Meanwhile, the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) has directed the CAAP to submit a brief report on the circumstances surrounding the air traffic management, which led to Ninoy Aquino International Airport flights being cancelled, delayed, and/or diverted on January 1, 2023. CAAP is given three working days to submit its report to the GCG.

According to the GCG’s records, the Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance/ Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) system of CAAP was a strategic target in CAAP’s 2017 Performance Scorecard and its transition and implementation were the agency’s strategic target in its 2018 and 2019 scorecards.

To further support the implementation of CAAP’s CNS/ATM, the Governance Commission authorized the creation of 136 Communication, Navigation, and Surveillance System Officer I plantilla positions through GCG Memorandum Order No. 2017-08. The GGC, as the central advisory, oversight, and monitoring body for GOCCs, monitors and evaluates the operations of GOCCs to be transparent and responsive to the needs of the public.

“As partners in national development and public service, the said report will inform the Governance Commission, as the central oversight agency for GOCCs, on how it may further support CAAP to avoid the reoccurrence of such incident. Further, this report will help us ensure the functional operation and safe and reliable management of Philippine air navigation systems,” said GCG Chairperson Alex L. Quiroz.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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