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CAAP corruption kills

“When I first read the initial results of the investigation, I felt a mixture of sadness and dismay… The pieces of evidence pointed to one thing: If some people did their job, if the rules of the industry were followed, if those involved were only faithful to their obligations, the tragedy could have been avoided.”

Those are the words of P-Noy as he announced the results of the investigation of the plane crash that killed Jesse Robredo. Now that presidential attention is focused on the agency that regulates our civil aviation industry, perhaps the much delayed clean-up of the organization can finally happen.

It also helps that the current CAAP head, retired Gen. William Hotchkiss III seems like the kind of person who can institute that clean-up. But he needs top level support. Unless the administration puts every power it has to get the job done, the problem will not go away.

Under our system, the incompetents and the corrupt in the CAAP staff will use all the legal means to keep their jobs. The law creating CAAP should have declared all positions in the old Air Transportation Office (ATO) vacant so CAAP could start with a clean slate. Now cleaning up is somewhat more complicated than it should be.

I guess we all understand now why the FAA and ICAO have downgraded us to the point that our flag carriers cannot enter European air space and only have limited access to America’s. They have pointed out that we do not have a reliable regulatory system in place.

Unqualified check pilots had been a long standing problem. Now the corruption element has taken center stage. Corruption in the BIR and Customs are despicable too. But corruption at CAAP kills. Just like the licensing and regulation of medical doctors, the licensing and regulation of aviation industry professionals must always be above board. If incompetence and corruption taints the licensing process, innocent people could end up dead. Who knows who the next victim could be. It could well be me or you.

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CAAP corruption caused the death of Jesse Robredo. Hopefully, the President now has a sense of mission to clean up CAAP to honor Jesse’s memory. The nation now sees him as having assumed direct responsibility for cleaning up CAAP and will hold him accountable... not DOTC Sec Joseph Abaya or CAAP chief Hotchkiss.

“It was clear that they committed deception and fraud. The cost: The lives of three people… This is a symptom of an anomaly in a system that has long prevailed, and which we are now addressing. We will not allow this system to continue. That’s why evidence would continue to be gathered to hold accountable those who have shortcomings on the part of AviaTour and even the CAAP.”

We take those words as a promise by the President to make CAAP an example of how Daang Matuwid can change a government agency whose culture is about as bad as it gets. Indeed, people will be waiting with some amount of impatience for tangible results from P-Noy.

One of P-Noy’s first orders should deliver quick results if he wants to protect his credibility. P-Noy ordered an audit of the permits and licenses issued by the CAAP and the strengthening of the rules for the operations of flying schools and air taxis.

I remember a former CAAP chief telling me that they don’t have reliable records of licenses they have issued. Their record keeping, if one can call it that, are pieces of paper in shoe boxes. Even the licenses, the former CAAP chief told me, are in plain “cartolina”.

That’s why FAA and ICAO had been asking for an IT-based system before it even considers upgrading our status. Government bureaucrats don’t want computer systems because it limits their movement, if you know what I mean. Now, P-Noy must make this a top priority.

The good thing that could come out of this unfortunate tragedy is that we may finally get closer to that status upgrade from FAA and ICAO. By reforming CAAP’s procedures, getting rid of the corrupt and the incompetent and putting a modern IT system in place, we are also going to finally comply with international standards.

P-Noy puts the context in this tragedy so well: “We don’t want this tragedy to happen to anyone… Jesse would want us to learn from the tragedy that befell him. Let’s not allow his passing to come to naught.”

Indeed, Mr President. Indeed!

Unprofessional CAAP

I have received this e-mail complaining of unprofessional behavior at CAAP.

Good morning! I have been a constant reader of your articles and I have always found them to be really written intelligently, wittily and sometimes really funny. And they are really relevant to what’s happening in our society and government.

After reading your article today (November 9, 2012), I decided to also write about my experience. My experience affirms why this CAAP cannot get an upgrade to Category 1 status.

I am an airline pilot with one of our domestic carriers and as such we are checked in an actual flight or in a flight simulator every six months. But before the actual check ride, our airline company has to give us the proper ground schooling we call re-currency training, also every six months.

After the ground training we proceed to the CAAP to secure our Check Ride Permit (CRP for short). This CRP is just  one piece of paper where the CAAP checker will place his ratings/comments on our performance during the check ride. Usually, before this CRP is given to us, their routing slip is signed by the head of the pilot examiners; this usually took just about 15 minutes.

Once we have the CRP, we can now proceed to our simulator training and subsequent check ride. Without the CRP, we cannot undergo the check ride. If we cannot undergo the check ride, we cannot renew our licenses, if we cannot renew our licenses, we cannot fly, if we cannot fly, we will not receive our productive pay.

Today, what used to be a 15-minute wait for the CRP takes more than a day because another annoying layer to the red tape was added! Last November 7 at 10 am, I and other pilots submitted our CAAP-issued-routing-slips so that we can get our Check Ride Permit. By noon time break, we still haven’t received our CRPs.

The CAAP people told us there is a new system in place and all our requests for CRPs must go through the hands of a certain CAPTAIN BADIOLA. He has to sign them. Since he was not in the office at that time, our papers remained on his table.

What happened to their computerization? Can’t they check our records without Captain Badiola? Besides, our company provides CAAP the list of all pilots who are scheduled to undergo simulator training for the month. They can double check that list against their own records. CAAP grounds to a halt because one person is away?

To continue my sad experience, we waited until the closing of office hours; in fact some of us waited until 6:30 pm to no avail. They told us to return the following day at 9 am. On the following day, I returned at 10:30 am and to my surprise, wala pa rin yung CRP ko! Wala pa rin daw itong si BADIOLA!

So I asked the secretary to just pull out my papers, bahala na; I just had enough. Mabuti na lang po narinig ako ng isang pilot-examiner dun and he signed my routing slip and gave me the CRP. They told me that they cannot do anything about this padding of the red tape because CAPTAIN BADIOLA directed them and Badiola is their boss.

The CRP is just a permit for us to be subjected to a check ride; what’s important is our performance in the check and our grades which we attach to our application to renew our licenses. But the CRP starts the ball rolling. I guess nag-popower trip lang ito si Captain Badiola.

I don’t know who this Captain Badiola is but he is guilty of non-feasance or even violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. He should read that Law. Non-feasance or non-action on documents that enters his office is considered corruption.

Sir Boo, can you please give a copy of my e-mail to Secretary Abaya of DOTC and director Hotchkiss of CAAP so that they can act on this problem?


The father of five children won a toy in a raffle. He called his kids to ask which one should have the toy. 

“Who is the most obedient?” he asked. “Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?”

Five small voices answered in unison. “Okay, dad… you get the toy.”

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is Follow him on Twitter @boochanco


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