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Cablegate: Philippines Civair Safety: On the Fast Track

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #3918 3480020
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 140020Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9175
RHMFIUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE IMMEDIATE 7303
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3433

UNCLAS MANILA 003918

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/MTS AND EEB/TRA/AN
FAA FOR API-1/AFS-50/AGC-7
SINGAPORE FOR FAA REP
TOKYO FOR FAA CARL STROMBOM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES CIVAIR SAFETY: ON THE FAST TRACK

REF: STATE 149143

1. Summary: The newly appointed Executive Director of the Air
Transportation Office told us that the government will attempt to
resolve all FAA safety concerns within three months, in order to
bring the Philippines back to Category 1 as soon as possible. On
November 28, the Philippine House of Representatives took the first
step in response to the expected FAA downgrade by passing
legislation to create an independent civil aviation agency. The
bill that passed, which has been certified as "urgent" by the
administration, is based on ICAO model legislation and resolves
problems identified by the FAA in present and previously proposed
legislation. It is expected to pass the Senate early next year.
End Summary.

2. On December 6, EconCouns met with Daniel Dimagiba of the Air
Transportation Office (ATO) and his staff to discuss an action plan
to correct civil aviation safety deficiencies and bring the
Philippines back to Category 1 status. Dimagiba had been promoted
to Acting Assistant Secretary and was energetic and enthusiastic.
He told us the ATO has brought in four new consultants from the
International Civil Aviation Organization to provide expertise in
areas of airworthiness and flight operations.

3. Dimagiba reported that legislation to establish a new,
independent, and self-funding Civil Aviation Authority of the
Philippines had passed the House of Representatives in record time.
Once this legislation is passed by the Senate the CAAP will absorb
ATO and will be financially self-sufficient and have all the
necessary authority to effectively regulate the safety of Philippine
airlines.

4. According to Dimagiba, ATO plans to work closely with the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA). It is currently working out plans
for reforms and then intends to ask for FAA technical support where
necessary. Dimagiba asked that Senior FAA Representative Carl
Strombom visit Manila in early January to review plans. He said he
is also considering traveling to Washington to present plans and
request assistance.

5. EconCouns met with Senior Deputy Executive Secretary of the
Office of the President of the Philippines Joaquin Lagonera on
December 10 to discuss the progress of the civil aviation
legislation. Lagonera, who is responsible for liaison with the
Philippine Congress on legislation, said the President has certified
this legislation as urgent. He had discussed it with the relevant
senate committee chairman that morning and the committee would meet
on December 13 to begin its progress through the senate. Lagonera
said he expected passage in early January.

6. Comment: Even before the announcement of the downgrade by FAA
the Philippine government has made fixing its civil aviation safety
regulation problems a key priority. Dimagiba's goal of three months
is very ambitious, and may be impossible to reach. Nonetheless,
progress thus far is encouraging. We will continue to meet with
legislators, executive branch officials and industry to keep the
pressure on and the consensus together.

Kenney

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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