Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The brouhaha at the Dept. of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has not died down. Intrigues and speculations add more to the confusion that has muddled the issues. Personally, I feel that opposing interest groups are jockeying for position. Sadly, former DOTC Sec. Ping De Jesus is in the midst of this brewing war. I take the Virginia Torres out of the equation. Her case is a totally different issue. I can only feel how frustrated Sec. De Jesus must be. I would also throw in the towel and let these crocs finish each other off. While this infighting continues, the safety of our flying public is at risk. Even the media hungry for anything they can sensationalize become willing or unwitting victims to rumormongers at the DOTC.

Another issue has been floated. To the common man, it would seem that an another anomaly has been unearthed. To those in the know and are not corrupt, the radar system issue can be explained. If you're not familiar with how air traffic management works, it would seem that there is duplication. Before I comment on the matter, I did some of my own research and asked a friend who is familiar with how the entire system works. I am sure that you would agree with me that redundancy is imperative when safety is concerned. Are the claims of some about the two radar systems true or a ploy to destroy Sec. De Jesus? I would like to remind you that different "syndicates" are fighting for control of lucrative projects.

There are currently two simultaneous projects in place within the CAAP regarding radar and communication. Both projects are DOTC projects not CAAP projects. This means that DOTC provided the funds and conducted the bidding on behalf of CAAP. The projects are Communications Navigation Surveillance-Air Traffic Management (CNS-ATM) project and the new Manila Air Control Center (MACC) project.

The MACC project is envisioned to upgrade the air traffic radar system used by the air traffic controllers in Manila, servicing only Terminal 1, Centennial Terminal, Terminal 3 and the old domestic terminal which share the same runway. Whereas the CNS-ATM project is to provide satellite, radar facilities, communications, surveillance and air traffic management to all airports in the Philippines. The CNS-ATM is envisioned to be a "holistic" approach in improving the air navigation system of the Philippines.

It is true that the radar component of both projects is the same. The MACC radar system can fulfill the role of the CNS-ATM radar system and vice versa. This now becomes the crux of the "in-fighting" among the different groups within the DOTC and CAAP. I do not know if those people are aware that both systems are actually needed. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for air traffic management and the National Transportation and Safety Bureau (NTSB) is responsible for investigation. Both agencies (key word here is AGENCY) are independent of each other and have their own equipment and systems. Other countries have similar structure in place. The Philippines on the other hand, have both departments (in the Philippines both are only DEPARTMENTS) working under one organization, the CAAP. Having the operations and investigative departments under one organization using the same equipment pose a lot of concerns. It can even be construed as collusion, incestuous even, since one is not independent of the other. How can the public expect a non-partisan investigation on air traffic mishaps if both the operations and investigative department report to the same person?

Now people with their own agendas are positioning themselves in order to take out the "competition" because there are similar components/overlaps in the projects. Government projects can not have any duplication because in can be construed as waste of government funds. But for safety concerns there is a need for independent redundancy. The new MACC project is obviously a subset of the CNS-ATM project hence the MACC project in only a fraction of the cost of the later.

Rumors about corruption, obsolescence, ineligibility and duplication are rampant. The fact of the matter is both systems can be used complementing each other as long as one system is designated as to be the primary source and the latter as the investigative/audit source should any air traffic mishaps occur.

I am a firm believer of oversight and regulation. This is the only way we can stop corruption. The greed of some people are just insatiable. I do not think our institutions are capable of policing its ranks. We need an independent agency that would oversee the different government agencies. It should not be attached to any other and should operate on its own. Institutions that investigate themselves always clear themselves of any wrongdoing. How I wish that those in the DOTC who are true professionals would come out and expose these mafia groups in their office. I hope the DOTC has a Heidi Mendoza in its ranks.

There will always be people who would conspire to rid their departments of those who try to introduce change. PNoy I think, should look into these matters himself. I hope that Sec. Mar Roxas's entry to the DOTC, the agency would be cleansed of its undesirables.


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