Tuesday, 4 March 2008

PGMA signs into law Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law today the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008 that stands to update and strengthen the international framework of the country's civil avaition industry and meet the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

CAAA 2008 abolishes the Air Transportation Office (ATO) and in its stead creates the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is mandated to set a comprehensive, clear and impartial rules of the aviation industry.

Under the new law, the CAA shall be an independent regulatory body with quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers with corporate attributes.

The CAA shall be an attached agency -- for the purpose of policy coordination -- to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

In her message before the signing of the CAAA, the President thanked Congress for passing the law.

''This is a good sign for our country and the world that the government continues to serve the people and push for more needed reforms to enhance good governance,'' she said.

The President pointed out that with the new law in place, ''you can now fly safely and we expect the tourism industry to continue its bullishness, and more investments will come pouring in which will translate into more new jobs for our people.''

''Today's enactment of the Civil Aviation Authority law is an opportune time to underscore the immense value of the rule of law,'' she said, even as she stressed that ''the rule of law is the foundation and protection of every citizen’s rights of peace and order in society, and of confidence in our country among investors in the Philippines and around the world, which is indispensable in attracting investment and jobs for our people.''

Under the new law, the CAA will enjoy fiscal autonomy and its personnel would be exempted from the Salary Standardization Law.

It shall be governed by a board composed of Cabinet members with the DOTC secretary as chairman.

The CAA is allowed to maintain its revenue collection of about P3 billion annually to be used for the improvement of its facilities and the training of personnel as well as improving airline safety facilities.

Under the law, no airline or plane would be exempted from paying landing or communications fees or whatever fees that would be imposed under the Act.

The implementing rules and regulations of the CAAAP are to be out within six months after today’s signing of the new law.

Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza said that with the new law, the Philippines is well on its way to regaining its safety status in the international aviation community.

The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) had downgraded the Philippine aviation status from Category 1 to Category 2 over concerns about the safety of the country's airports and air carriers.

With a centralized aviation body, it is expected that the downgrade would be reversed in June when the FAA undertakes a new assessment of the safety standards of the country’s airports and air carriers, Mendoza said.

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