DOTr wants CAAP exempted from salary standardization

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista supported a legislation exempting Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ (CAAP) employees from salary standardization as one way to address the exodus of air traffic controllers as well as other problems of the workforce.

The exemption will enable them to have better benefits and salaries at par with Middle Eastern countries.

“We support the exemption of CAAP employees from the government salary standardization because we need to retain this people, or else, they will leave the country, for economic reasons. They need to support their families and give them a good livelihood,” he maintained during this week's Senate hearing on the New Year airport fiasco.

At the same time, Bautista vowed to settle the dispute involving the service contract agreement between DOTr and Sumitomo Corp. - Thales Corp. over the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ (CAAP) installation of the Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance/Air Trafffic Management (CNS/ATM).

The DOTr has been in discussions with the two corporations since September 2022, and is "expediting the resolution of the payment dispute" he told lawmakers.

In fact, the resolution is one of the priority projects submitted for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s approval, Bautista added.

"We will fast-track the resolution of the dispute between DOTr and Sumitomo-Thales," he reiterated.

"I’ve been talking to them since September last year. It is important that we complete the maintenance agreement and upgrade of the system. We have included this in our list of priority projects to the President,” the DOTr Secretary elaborated.

Once the dispute has been resolved, the DOTr can proceed with the next step: a feasibility study for the procurement of the CNS/ATM’s backup and system upgrade.

This should prevent the recurrence of the New Year’s Day incident, which affected hundreds of flights and thousands of passengers.

“We agree that we will have a budget to do the feasibility study for this project and we will work with Thales, as far as the upgrade of the software is concerned,” Bautista pointed out.