Thursday, November 25, 2010

Malacañang assures ICAO on changes at CAAP

Malacañang assures ICAO on changes at CAAP

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should not have misgivings about the recent management changes at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) because the new appointments signify a step "in the right direction," Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda made the statement after ICAO postponed its planned audit of the Philippine aviation industry because of “operational concerns" that supposedly include political interference in the appointment of CAAP officials.

On Nov. 2, the CAAP board of directors passed a resolution approving seven appointments to key management positions in the agency.

CAAP Director General Alfonso Cusi, an appointee of the previous administration, said the appointments were reportedly “railroaded" by Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose “Ping" de Jesus, who took over the CAAP on June 30.

Lacierda, however, maintained that the government is “doing the right thing."

“The appointments[s] in fact, address that issue of the deficiency of highly qualified technical people. We have appointed people who are now qualified technical people and therefore, we are in fact answering the concerns of the organization," the president’s spokesman said.

Lacierda said the Palace hopes the change in CAAP leadership will take the Philippines out of the Category 2 listing by the US Federal Aviation Authority.

A Category 2 listing means a country has failed the aviation safety standards of ICAO.

Cusi told reporters Tuesday that ICAO said the operational reasons “relate to the insecurity of ICAO in the sustainability of the present reforms being undertaken by CAAP."

ICAO also expressed misgivings over “the present unclear political announcements [over] a change in senior management could create, in ICAO’s opinion, an indeterminable future of professional processes within CAAP," Cusi said.

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