Ranking solon hails Bautista for choosing House over Palace meeting

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista proved to congressmen Tuesday, Jan. 10 that the agency was taking the issue of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) New Year's day crisis very seriously.

DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista (Facebook)

This, after Bautista spent six hours in a House Committee on Transportation briefing at Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City to help shed light on the Jan. 1 mass flight cancellation.

To do so, Bautista skipped the first Cabinet meeting of the year with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in Malacañang.

This choice didn't go unnoticed by Antipolo 2nd district Rep. Romeo Acop, chairman of the transportation panel.

"I would like to extend my gratitude to the good secretary, who has graced us with his attendance, even if he has a Cabinet meeting," Acop said at the end of the panel discussions Tuesday afternoon.

"For the information of everybody, he was supposed to attend the Cabinet meeting but he decided to stay with us and answer all thr questions, all the queries of out brethren legislators," the chairman said.

Acop likewise gave props for his fellow House of Representatives members, who actively participated in the hearing despite the ongoing recess in the chamber.

"To my colleagues, maramjng salamat po sa inyong pagdalo, sa inyong kooperasyon (thank you very much for your participation, for your cooperation)," the veteran solon said.

A "tripped" circuit breaker within the Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) of NAIA caused a power outage that paralyzed the country’s main gateway for around seven hours last Jan. 1, a Sunday. Over 400 international and domestic flights were cancelled during that window.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), which is tasked with the maintenance of the critical system, is an attached agency of the DOTr.

Cabinet secretaries like Bautista are often dubbed "alter egos" of the President.