The House Committees on Transportation and Government Enterprises and Privatization have jointly approved the bill creating the Philippine Airports Authority (PAA). Said bill is still subject to change based on the written positions submitted by different agencies.
House Bill No. 7976, or the bill for the “Philippine Airports Authority Act” – sponsored by Rep. Eric Olivarez – will establish a corporate body under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with the following functions:
a) Promote domestic and international air traffic in the Philippines as a means of accelerating the development of aviation as a mode of transportation in the country, and as well as making the Philippines a center for international trade and tourism;
b) Formulate and adopt for application in all domestic and international airport terminals in the country, internationally acceptable standards of airport accommodation and service; and
c) Upgrade and provide safe, efficient, and reliable airport facilities for domestic and international air travel.
With such functions given to the Authority, it will enable the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to focus on its safety regulation and oversight mandate. CAAP Legal Atty. Gumabon expressed their support for the legislation to eliminate conflicting interests. There will be a conflict of interest if CAAP continues to operate airports while exercising safety regulations. The Airport Operations Certificate issuance was also raised as a concern for reconciliation with the bill’s sponsor.
Through its Networking Committee on Transport and Logistics (EDC-NCTL), the Export Development Council strongly advocates the separation of the conflicting functions of the CAAP. It deems that this legislative measure will promote an efficient, safe, and sustainable air transport sector that will consequently contribute to the ranking of the country’s international infrastructure competitiveness. -KJDA