DOTr’s Jimmy Bautista, MIAA-CAAP heads should resign
Suppose there is any decency left in these three gentlemen. In that case, they should pack up and leave their posts immediately after that horrible New Year airport chaos that put our country into deep international shame. The Philippines went completely blind without communication, radar, radio, and the internet. More than sixty-five thousand holiday passengers domestically and abroad were hassled. Was it hacked? What happened?
Around 361 flights were canceled, delayed or diverted in that six-hour shutdown now traced to “technical issues”. We were marked and condemned all over the world by the industry and air travelers and the damage continues to have a domino effect on subsequent flights.
Secretary Jimmy Bautista says the primary cause was a power supply problem and the degraded uninterrupted power supply (UPS), which had no link to “commercial power” and had to be connected manually. The second problem, he says, was the power surge due to the power outage which affected the equipment. Director Manuel Tamayo of the Civil Aviation Authority says the airport’s current CNS-ATM (Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Managements is already OUTDATED. This was funded by the Japanese (JICA) for a total of P10.8-B began installation in 2010 ) and completed in 2018. Then why did it conk out if it is just four or five years old?
Did Bautista, Chiong and Tamayo prepare enough to avert this kind of emergency? I assume they did, considering their track records and bemedaled achievements in the aviation industry. But quite clearly, as the fiasco would reveal, they did not. I would say they were too busy “politicking”, consolidating power and leaving the public unprotected. Imagine the simple cause, UPS, and backup breakdown. Knowing a full load of domestic and international flights on New Year’s Day, did the CAAP operators double-check on all their equipment days or weeks before? Perhaps, a time and motion dry run if the worst scenarios happen?
I remember a few months ago, two GMs were heading NAIA, Bautista’s protege Cesar Chiong and Malacañang appointee Jay Art Tugade, son of former DOTR Sec. Art Tugade, as CEO and acting GM. This was late October, and it was an open secret that Bautista detested the Palace choice. After much discussion with the President, around November, Jay Art was removed from NAIA and transferred to LTO as new chief, while Cesar Chiong remained NAIA GM.
And now, this New year’s chaos happened. Malacañang wanted to know if this was a “incompetence or sabotage”. Because from BBM’s point of view, appointing PAL’s superstar in Sec. Jimmy Bautista in DOTR would ensure that these technical breakdowns will not happen. But it did. Something went wrong big time with our total air traffic management system. And therefore, Secretary Bautista and his minions at MIAA and CAAP, alleged experts in airline travel, should go. They have nothing more to prove except further damage this nation’s aviation and tourism industry.
‘Pressured’ PLDT Chief MVP inconvenienced by NAIA breakdown
I find it interesting that PLDT top honcho Manny Pangilinan would tweet about his experience on the New year NAIA glitch.
“I was down on my way home from Tokyo-3 hours into the flight but had to return to Haneda. 6 hours of useless flying but an inconvenience to travelers and losses to tourism and business are horrendous. Only in the Philippines. Sigh.” I could imagine his frustration on an unexpected delay in his return to Manila. The same feeling that more than 55,000 travelers felt worldwide when the Philippines went blind.
MVP was rushing home to clear criticisms of his company’s P48-Billion budget overrun between 2019-2022. Good thing that the Philippine Stock Exchange already cleared PLDT inc. of alleged insider trading during the Dec. 16 stock sell-offs. He emphasized that there were no fraudulent transactions, procurement anomalies, or loss of assets arising from the CAPEX spend.
The budget overrun was due to pressure to regain network leadership, under-investment in CAPEX and pressures from the government, consumers, and business competitors.
MVP emphasized that PLDT’s major revenue streams, Wireless Home and Enterprise, with group EBITDA will hit ₱100 billion with a profit of ₱32 to ₱33 billion-plus sale of communication towers for ₱77 billion. He assured investors, including fund managers and investment bankers, of total transparency. “There’s nothing we’re hiding here. We’re not playing with the truth”, he says. Well, that was an acceptable explanation and closed the issue.