PH Air Sector Reforms Pushed Again by JFC

The FOREIGN chambers on Monday again called on Congress to approve air transport reforms after a Senate panel released a report on a systemic glitch ahead of the New Year that closed the country’s main airport.

The Philippine Joint Foreign Chamber (JFC) said in a statement that they support the recommendations contained in Senate Committee Report 39, including an amendment to the Philippine Civil Aviation Authority’s charter to allow the agency’s conflicting roles as regulator, operator and investigator, and the passage of bills to create Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) and the Philippine Airports Authority.

“Bills in the Senate and the House of Representatives have already been filed and are pending in both houses, with Senate Bill (SB) 1121 creating the PTSB being sponsored for plenary approval by the senator. [Grace] Through March 7,” JFC said in a statement.

“We call on the relevant committees in both houses to hold public hearings on bills pending committee level consideration, and for the Senate to begin deliberations on SB 1121 as soon as possible,” it added.

More than 300 flights and 65,000 passengers were affected when a power failure at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) halted operations on January 1. The Senate panel concluded that the failure of the systems was indeed due to a “confluence of factors and errors”, including inadequate conditions. .

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“The NAIA incident and the resulting disruption to air travel across the country is a strong reminder of the need for laws to be enacted to bring about structural reforms in the air transport sector,” JFC said in a statement.

“JFC members express their gratitude to the Senate Committee on

Public Services issued a timely report chaired by Senator Grace Poe and recommended legislation that will bring the Philippines into line with international transportation safety standards,” the agency added.

JFC said other industry associations such as the Safe Travel Alliance, the Philippine Air Carriers Association and the International Air Transport Association have long advocated reforms.

“[W]and are optimistic that, with the support of Congress, the executive branch, and the private sector, we will finally see their adoption in the 19th Congress.

The creation of the PTSB was approved by Congress last year, but President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vetoed the bill in July, saying it would duplicate functions already performed by other agencies.

Poe resubmitted the bill the following month.

The JFC includes the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and the Japan Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. Inc., Korea Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc. and the Regional Headquarters of the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Inc.