Senator Francis ‘Tol’ N. Tolentino has urged the leadership of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to take advantage of a specific treaty that would help modernize the country’s existing air traffic control system.
Tolentino was referring to the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO) particularly under Article 70, in which signatory countries—which include the Philippines—may seek assistance from the ICAO council to fully finance the upgrade of existing air navigation facilities, without paying a single centavo.
“Ibig sabihin po they (ICAO) will fund totally 100 percent all our requirements to make it up to date with international standards,” Tolentino told CAAP officials during Thursday’s inquiry of the Senate public services committee on the so-called ‘New Year’s Day fiasco’ which crippled the country’s airspace due to a supposed glitch in the air traffic control system of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Tolentino explained that the Philippines might qualify to seek assistance from the ICAO council to upgrade its air navigation equipment if the country’s transportation officials can prove to the international body that existing facilities “are not reasonably adequate for the safe, regular, efficient, and economical operation of international air services, present or contemplated,” as stated in Article 69 of the 1944 pact.
Article 71 of the ICAO Convention states that: “If a contracting State so requests, the Council may agree to provide, man, maintain, and administer any or all of the airports and other air navigation facilities including radio and meteorological services, required in its territory for the safe, regular, efficient and economical operation of the international air services of the other contracting States.”
The senator advised CAAP officials present during the Senate inquiry to submit an initial communication with the ICAO secretariat—informing the council’s secretariat of an ongoing probe following the January 1, 2023 incident and a copy of the final report will be submitted to them by the end of the month.