MANILA -- The Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday presented its findings on the New Year's day air traffic shutdown that affected thousands of traveler at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
During the Senate's plenary session, panel chairperson Sen. Grace Poe showed what they discovered after 2 months of investigation that involved a public hearing, an ocular, "and a series of meetings and consultations with agencies and experts."
"We have finally identified the cause of the glitch of the New Year's Day Air Traffic shutdown... The process is no joke," Poe said.
Poe ruled out sabotage and cyberattack as the supposed reasons for the incident.
"Bagamat maraming kakulangan sa seguridad ng pasilidad gaya ng kawalan ng CCTV, at ng mismong sistema gaya ng outdated na computer systems at iba pang cybersecurity vulnerabilities, walang data compromise na nangyari dahil sa insidente," she said.
However, Poe said a "conclusive finding negating the cyberattack potential" will depend on the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) data logs sent to Turkey for examination.
Based on the panel's findings, the outage was not caused by power supply issue but of "several equipment malfunctioning prior to and during the incident."
"The malfunctioning of these equipment was worsened by several underlying issues that all aligned on New Year’s Day and ultimately led to a system failure. Kumbaga sa sakit, may underlying medical condition na ang pasyente at nagkaroon na ng maraming komplikasyon kaya namatay ito," Poe said.
The senator also pointed out Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines' (CAAP) lapses that led to the incident.
"CAAP’s poor compliance with the audit observations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (or ICAO) contributed to the failure of the system," she said.
"CAAP has also been experiencing employee recruitment and retention issues due to limitations set by existing laws... Karamihan din sa CAAP employees ay nananatiling job order," Poe added.
With regard to recommendations, Poe said her panel decided to adopt a "non-punitive direction."
"I stressed that the committee will adopt a non-punitive direction because our primary goal right now is public safety. Accountability will follow after we’ve laid down safety measures for our air passengers," she explained.
"The committee believes that CAAP personnel on the ground did their best with the equipment, guidelines, and training given to them. We thus defer to the current 5 administration of CAAP to undertake the administrative investigation for disciplinary action on the culpability of any of its personnel," Poe added.
The panel recommended the "urgent replacement and upgrading of critical equipment" and "sufficient engineering guidelines and training of accredited engineers."