The House Committee on Transportation chaired by Antipolo City Representative Romeo Acop, held a briefing on the power outage and technical glitch incident that affected flights in the country on January 1, 2023 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
In his opening statement, Acop said the preliminary hearing was held to determine the true causes of the system failure that disrupted flights and affected passengers.
“The preliminary hearing was held to determine the true causes of the system failure that disrupted flights and affected passengers.”
The legislator also stated that several House resolutions were already filed to conduct a legislative inquiry on the matter.
“This incident affected around 78,000 passengers and a combined 637 domestic and international flights. Not to mention the repercussions it had and continues to have on our country from a tourism destination option, an economic investment option and a compromised national security,” the lawmaker said.
During the hearing, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista sincerely apologized to all those who were affected and inconvenienced by the technical glitch.
Bautista also emphasized the critical need for existing procurement laws to be amended, as well as technical and financial assistance, to expedite the acquisition of technical equipment at the NAIA, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and other regional airports.
Also, CAAP Director General Captain Manuel Tamayo and CAAP Air Traffic Service Officer-in-Charge Chief Engr. Arnold Balucating briefed the panel on the events that transpired during the disruption of their Communications, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM).
Tamayo also stated that on the advice of their supplier, they purchased an emergency UPS due to the age of their existing UPS.
However, 1-RIDER Party-list Representative Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez questioned the CAAP officials on their emergency procurement of UPS and said that this kind of procurement should be studied carefully.
“It is better to redirect funds to properly compensate air traffic controllers and maintenance personnel rather than invest in redundant systems.”
Gutierrez also proposed re-directing funds to properly compensate air traffic controllers and maintenance personnel rather than investing in redundant systems.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga Sibugay Representative Wilter Palma urged CAAP to also attend to the welfare and plight of the stranded Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) whenever situations of delayed or cancelled flights occur.