Senator Aquino urges DOTC, CAAP to address exodus of air-traffic controllers

By , on June 3, 2014

Sen. Benigno "Bam" Aquino. Photo from Aquino's official Facebook page.
Sen. Benigno “Bam” Aquino. Photo from Aquino’s official Facebook page.

MANILA — Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Tuesday urged the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to address the exodus of air-traffic controllers.

”The CAAP and the DOTC should look into the flight of the country’s ATCs before things turn for the worse,” Aquino said.

Aquino said concerned CAAP employees submitted to him documents showing 195 of the country’s 500 air-traffic controllers hired by the CAAP from the Civil Aviation Training Center are on the job-order status.

“It was brought to my attention that some of our air-traffic controllers have left for greener pastures abroad while others plan to join them if their working situation will not improve in the near future,” said Aquino.

“The exodus of air-traffic controllers will mean another brain drain for the country. Also, it will slow down the operation of airports and hinder the country’s tourism, which has been steadily growing in the past years,” he added.

Aquino also received information that since the CAAP was created last 2008, no CATC graduate has been issued an appointment or not one became a regular employee.

“They are hired as air traffic controller assistants but they perform the duties and responsibilities that of a regular rated ATC once they obtain a rating,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the lack of job security has forced five experienced ATCs to leave the country for a better job abroad, leaving other ATCs with additional workload that leads to longer working hours.

“This is very unproductive and at the same time dangerous because it causes undue stress to our air traffic controllers. In our job where safety is the top priority, a sound mind and relaxed body is a necessity,” Aquino said.

The CATC cannot provide immediate replacements to the posts vacated by several ATCs because the job requires special skills and time, Aquino emphasized.