By Charissa Luci-Atienza
San Jose del Monte City Rep. Florida (Rida) Robes has sought the creation of an independent body that would look into plane crash in Plaridel Bulacan and would study whether or not the rehabilitation and upgrading of the airport facility is feasible.
She said the high incidence of plane crashes and the air traffic accidents over the years are major public health and safe travel concerns which should be addressed immediately.
“To prevent similar accidents in the near future, it is imperative that an independent body be created to conduct an investigation on the plane crash incident and thereby take immediate preventive measures to promote public health and safe travel which shall serve as a guide in further enacting a law pursuant thereto providing actions and sanctions therefor, ” she said in filing House Resolution 1799.
On March 17, 2018, a six-seater Piper PA-23 Apache airplane operated by Lite Air Express bound for Laoag, Ilocos Norte, crashed upon takeoff from Plaridel Airport, claiming the lives of five people on board and five other people living in the house where the plane crashed into.
Robes said the government should take a parallel action to address the high incidence of plane crashes over the years and take similar immediate measures to prevent similar accidents in the near future.
“Further, a study should be conducted on the feasibility of the rehabilitation and upgrading the facilities to make the Plaridel airport compliant with the required international standards,” Robes said.
Bulacan Rep. Gavini (Apol) Pancho and ANGKLA party-list Rep. Jesulito Manalo also filed House Resolution 1796 calling on the House Committee on Transportation to investigate the circumstances of the plane crash.
“There is a need to find out the real cause of the crash, considering that there are two conflicting reports, the first being that the airplane hit a power line which caused it to a crash, and the other report where residents allegedly heard a strange noise coming from the plane before take-off, ” they said.
Pancho expressed concern that the March 17 incident is not the first plane crash incident involving Plaridel Airport, which services several aviation schools.
“There may be a need to assess the safety of Plaridel Airport and the dangers it poses on the people living within the surrounding community, and find out how many crashes or aircraft related incidents have happened in previous years and whether there is a need to take measures to prevent collateral damage and loss of life in the event of a plane crash, ” he said.
He said the condition of the Plaridel Airport should be looked into as well as its impact on the surrounding community.
“There may be a need to look into the results of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ investigation into the incident, its review of the condition of Plaridel Airport, and the standards we use to determine the impact of airports to a community or surrounding area, ” Pancho said.
“There may be a need to assess the process as to how quality-checks are being done on small aircrafts, in order to enact laws to ensure that incidents and accidents like this which resulted to the loss of human lives do not happen again, ” he added.