Robes calls for House probe on NAIA ‘glitch’

January 4, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 157 views

A LAWMAKER sought a congressional inquiry on the reported malfunction and shutdown of the new Communications, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) system for the Air Traffic Management (ATM) of the Ninoy International Airport (NAIA) last January 1.

San Jose del Monte Representative Florida Robes, the chairperson of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, filed House Resolution (HR) No. 672 for her committee to look into the matter.

Robes said she was among the 65,000 inbound and outbound passengers affected by the airspace shutdown.

The congresswoman said she wants to know from officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) how the New CNS/ATM System loaned from (Japan International Cooperation Agency) JICA “malfunctioned” despite its inauguration in 2018 and with local funding from the government.

She observed that there was also an alleged lack of coordination between the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and/or Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) with the airlines and a “lack of concern” for air passengers on a tight budget who wanted or needed to go home or those who needed to return to work outside the country.

As a legislator, Robes added that this was nowhere to aid the country’s economic recovery.

Robes said the new CNS/ATM works by sending satellite signals to aircraft transponders and by using transponder transmissions to determine the precise location of aircraft in our airspace, “and its shutdown posed serious threats to aviation safety, economic losses to tourism and the aviation industry, and leaving thousands of inbound and outbound flight passengers stranded.”

The shutdown has affected at least 282 domestic and international flights and 65,000 inbound and outbound passengers.

Robes revealed that the new CNS/ATM was a product of a JICA loan ID PH-P228 with loan title New Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management Systems Project between the Philippines and Japanese governments through the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on March 28, 2002, with effectivity date on Feb. 21, 2003, amounting to ¥22.049 million.

However, the new CNS/ATM was inaugurated only on January 16, 2018, while the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) records showed that government continues to receive the loan package even in 2021, according to Robes.

Robes said local counterpart funding for the project happened in 2017 worth P9.8 billion for the “construction of airports and navigational facilities, and acquisition of navigational equipment as stated in paragraph 6 of the General Appropriations Act (GAA).”

According to Robes, the local funding for the new CNS/ATM project was worth P122,273,000 in 2017.