Just another deadline?
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
In 2008, the Federal Aviation Authority downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 from Category 1 after a safety audit conducted in November of 2007 showed that some policies of the local aviation sector are below international standards. The downgrade meant that local airlines are presently banned from expanding operations in the United States and Europe. Since then, the Philippines has not recovered from the rating downgrade.
President Aquino has recently given the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines one year to have the ban on Philippine carriers to European skies lifted. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda has revealed that, aside from issuing the deadline, the government has also hired technical personnel and consultants in a move to take the Philippine aviation industry out of the ratings downgrade. Aside from that, the President has also signed an Executive Order authorizing the CAAP administrator to hire more people in order to address one of the primary issues of the safety audit that said there was a lack of qualified technical personnel who will carry out procedures that ensure the safety of the Philippine air transport sector.
It has been three years since we have been downgraded and we have yet to see any sense of urgency in the government agencies concerned with regards to reversing that embarrassing rating downgrade. Perhaps the deadline given by the President can speed up the actions of the people in Department of Transport and Communications and the CAAP. We hope that P-Noy did not just give another empty deadline this time but has also provided the means and resources to empower the government officials concerned so they are truly able to swiftly, decisively and sustainably rectify the situation.
Aside from that, if P-Noy is truly serious about the deadline and is willing to support the government agencies concerned in their efforts towards that goal, the repercussions for the government officials accepting the challenge must also be clear because our air transport industry simply cannot afford any more excuses from people who are so used to empty deadlines and threats that they have forgotten how to do their jobs properly.*