MANILA — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday said there is a need to look into the vulnerabilities of the Philippine airport infrastructure system to avoid a similar technical glitch that shut down the country’s air space that left thousands of stranded passengers on New Year’s Day.
“If left unchecked, any vulnerability could undermine the government’s effort to safeguard our economic recovery initiatives, especially in the tourism and transportation sector,” he said in a statement after filing Senate Resolution 421 seeking an inquiry into the incident.
Gatchalian said the inquiry should also focus on the “security and redundancy measures” in all aspects of the country’s air transportation system to avoid similar incident and ensure the safety, convenience and the rights of affected passengers.
He said such inquiry is needed, noting that various speculations have come out following the incident as to the reported cause of the technical glitch, that included the vulnerability of the system to cyberattacks, sabotage, absence of back-up system outside airport premises, and plain incompetence among traffic control personnel.
“Kailangan nating malaman ang puno’t dulo ng mga ganitong pangyayari upang bigyang-daan ng awtoridad ang mga kinakailangang aksyon, kabilang ang mga redundancy measures para masigurong hindi na maulit ang ganitong mga insidente at para din mapanagot ang mga nasa likod nito,” (We need to get into the bottom of these kind of incidents in order for authorities to implement the proper actions, which includes redundancy measures to ensure that similar incidents will not be repeated, as well as to make liable those behind the incident),” Gatchalian said.
Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said he is considering the filing of civil and criminal cases against the persons involved in the New Year incident as the Senate Committee on Public Order began its own probe on Thursday.
Zubiri also warned the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to ensure the veracity of their investigations, adding that they first pointed out to the uninterruptible power supply (UPS), but during the House probe on Wednesday, they are now blaming the collapse of the circuit breaker.
“Let us not treat it with a slap on the wrist. We have to treat it like an international investigation and look backwards into all the footage of the CCTV, look back at all the testimonies of all the people who were involved that day.” Zubiri said. (PNA)