Poe rules out cyberattack in CAAP air traffic fiasco

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2023 09:25 PM

MANILA — The technical glitches that happened at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on New Year and Chinese New Year celebrations have no signs of “cyberattack,” but those incidents can still happen again, according to Sen. Grace Poe.

Poe’s Senate committee on public services investigated the NAIA technical glitch and personally inspected the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

“Sa cyberattack parang wala namang ganun na nakikita. Although the actual cybersecurity of the CAAP is quite weak and outdated. So it needs to be upgraded. But when it comes to actual sabotage, nakita ko kasi nung pumunta tayo doon, ang daming sira at hindi mukhang nasira dahil na-sabotage. Makita mo tunaw na ang wires, and these things don't happen overnight,” Poe told journalists.

“We also found out that for many years now, there's nothing really been a proper maintenance done by a third party maintenance provider,” she added.

Asked how highly is a repeat of the technical glitch, Poe said: “Pwede talagang mangyari.”
Getting back to full operation in the event of another technical glitch will again take time because of the needed coordination with other airports, she said.

Poe is targeting to present her committee report regarding the NAIA technical glitch next week, which she said will include her recommendation to strengthen the CAAP and exempt the agency in certain regulations for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs).

Topmost consideration should be increasing the P30,000 monthly salary of air traffic comptrollers, she said.

"Sa ibang bansa nasa P300,000 siguro ang kikitain nila. So it's a no-brainer for that,” Poe said.

“Another proposal for strengthening the CAAP is that we have to reiterate the fact that whatever income they get from the services that they provide, they should able to retain that. Hindi dapat ibalik yan sa National Treasury kasi yan ang puhunan nila para makapagsweldo nang mataas, para makabili ng tamang mga equipment,” she added.

Poe is also considering to include in her report the setting up of an “airport authority” that would be similar to the one overseeing ports, and fast track the bill recommending the creation of the National Transport Safety Board. 

Poe, meanwhile, vowed to find out how the CAAP leadership is spending Congress’s annual allocation for the agency’s modernization program.


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