KEEP the popcorns or your early morning coffee always ready, dear readers, and focus your attention these days to the goings-on in one of the most incompetently-managed and scandal-ridden agency under this administration, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Next week, technical experts from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), as the CAAP announced earlier, are coming over to start another round of “audit” on our country’s compliance to international aviation safety standards.
I’ve written dozens of articles about the CAAP the past three years and why its continued unprofessionalism and inept conduct are costing the entire country big time.
For the first time readers of this corner, suffice it to say that we are again trying to pass the FAA audit after flunking it early last year -- and not the 2007 audit as the CAAP wants to impress on us these days.
It can be said that DG William Hotchkiss and DDG John Andrews, are now oozing with confidence that, under their term, they can “do the job” that their predecessors the past six years failed to do: remove the US and European ban on our carriers by passing their respective safety audits.
(To be fair, I lately gathered that it was Sec. Mar who threw in his “weight” so that Hotchkiss’ group would get to run the CAAP beginning in June 2012.)
(Hmmn. Kaya siguro kahit anong batikos ang abutin nitong tribo ni Hotchkiss sa media dahil sa kanilang mga pagkukulang at mga kapabayaan, dedma lang si PNoy dahil nga si Sec. Mar ang “nakadiin,” ganun kaya ‘yun, Elisabeth Aspiras ng Baguio City?).
These appointees are now dripping with “chutzpah” probably due to the “passing grade” supposedly given to the CAAP by the ICAO during its audit last February.
But then again, DG William, ‘asan na ba talaga ang kopya ng ICAO audit na ‘yan at kahit sa ICAO website wala pa rin yata? Aber, wala nga sa website ninyo samantalang dapat ipinaghahambog ninyo ’yan, ’di ba?
At kung talagang ‘genuine’ ang pagpasa ng ‘Pinas sa ICAO, bakit ayaw itong “kilalanin” ng Japan at Korea?
* * *
What would the FAA finds when its audit team arrives?
Well, the most significant development at the CAAP lately was the ruckus created by Andrews’ unilateral (read: illegal, against the law) decision to REORGANIZE the CAAP and which took effect only last Monday, July 1.
The FAA team would probably pick up any local newspaper to read that the CAAP, Andrews specifically, is being threatened with a barrage of lawsuits for this questionable act that I first exposed in this column last June 29.
As I gathered, local leaders, to include members of Congress, particularly in Misamis and Zamboanga, are up in arms over this questionable CAAP reorganization that runs smack of the provisions of RA 9497 or the CAAP Law.
Mindanao officials are up in arms, not just because “one of their own” became casualties of this “restructuring” imposed by Andrews, but because of the perceived illegality of his act.
If Andrews is trying to make a monkey out of these “probincianos” and of the law, then he might soon find that this is to his own -- and Hotchkiss’ -- regret.
In short, I would not be surprised if they find their calendars soon littered with appointments with the courts and angry members of Congress, hehehe, ehek, huhuhu!
When the FAA team buckle down to serious business, they might want to note that in the course of one month (June) a major PH carrier, Cebu Pac, had three consecutive accidents while landing and yet, the CAAP has done absolutely nothing to sanction this airline company.
If they learn that Andrews is a former top executive of Cebu Pac, will they take his glaring bias in favor of this airline as a clear case of “conflict of interest, or, was it just his way of showing his “debt of gratitude” towards his former employer?
But then, “conflict of interest” is what the CAAP is notorious to begin with, if the background of many of its top officials is to be the basis.
Aside from Andrews, the FAA team may want to ascertain if ex-Capt. Bedol Badiola, the present head of the highly important FSIS (Flight Standard Inspectorate Service), submitted a bogus resignation from Leading Edge, a flying school, by comparing his declaration with the records at the SEC.
At sino nga ba ulit ang pumirma ng appointment mo, Capt. Badiola? Si Pang. Noy ba o kung sino lang kasama mong opisyal d’yan sa CAAP? Sana hindi ‘yan “against the law,” hane?
* * *
Among the damning conclusions by the FAA in its audit last year (and in past audits) was the fact that the CAAP failed to develop its available manpower or “human resources.”
And if they concluded that the CAAP remains one lucrative employment agency for those “has been” and “over-the-hill” in our aviation industry and the AFP since their last audit a year ago, they are not way off the mark, really.
With those running the CAAP earlier on deciding to farm out all available positions there (by way of “consultancy” and “job orders”) to their own set of “KKK” (to include even invalid military personnel), it is no surprise that CAAP still has no stable “pool” of qualified safety inspectors up to now.
An internal CAAP document also showed that of the 81 airports under it, only 13 meet the minimum ICAO safety requirements on safety based on their CFR rating.
Heck, even the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental inaugurated by Pres. Noy last June 11, lacks the ILS (instrument landing system) that is a critical safety instrument for an airport of that size.
Ditto, the CAAP is still notorious for conducting fake check rides, an anomaly that is also partly to blame for the death last year of DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo.
More on what other “interesting things” that the FAA team should find at the CAAP. Abangan!