Give us atrasado miles!
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2018 - 12:00am

Secretary Art Tugade has once again declared war on lazy bones and corrupt officials under the department by filing charges or suspending erring officials at the Marina, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the LTO office in Nueva Vizcaya. Perhaps, Secretary Tugade would get more scalps if he investigated or did an audit of the CAAP to determine if they have really been thorough in doing their job regulating airlines.

Secretary Tugade should check if the so-called “Air Traffic Congestion” at NAIA is truly the cause of flight delays in the country or if a couple of airlines have been using it to cover up the fact that they have far too many flights and not enough planes to cover for contingencies. Since February, I have been flying around the country quite a bit and I remember all our flights being relatively on time. The flight delays only started to happen during the Holy Week and continued on to the Long weekend for the “Day of Valor.”

Since then the constant announcement at airports was that “the delays was caused by air traffic congestion at NAIA.” The strange thing was that Cebu Pacific would turn around their planes on schedule while two other airlines kept announcing their flights were delayed due to NAIA congestion. Is the government being used as a scapegoat? Many people have long been suggesting for the CAAP to forcibly break up the side-by-side arrivals and departures of PAL and Cebu Pacific in order to reduce the air congestion and give travelers more choice or flexibility in their choice of flights. But the CAAP, has not, cannot or simply won’t do something about it.

Another thing I’ve written about that the CAAP should do but has not acted on is regulating the size and amount of hand carry luggage. I have heard two airlines offer free check-in of extra luggage just to reduce excess overhead baggage. This is a direct consequence of too many delays. Travelers choose to rely on hand carry baggage, which in turn makes boarding and storing luggage in the overhead compartments longer.

Given that each delayed flight causes us to lose 2 to 4 hours each, the airlines that constantly have delayed flights should be required to issue “ATRASADO MILES” to inconvenienced travelers! Congress should also devote one special investigation to audit and grill the CAAP to determine if the political appointees in the agency are more interested in traveling, collecting allowances and playing golf with the big boys with wings!

*      *      *

If Secretary Tugade is on attack mode against the lazy bones then please visit the Tacloban Airport, which I recall was rehabilitated after Typhoon Yolanda.

The facility already looks run down, with dark watermarks along the side of the façade and roofline indicating clogged drainages. The men’s toilet at the arrival area was placed outside the building so arriving guests had to go out and then back to retrieve luggage. It was embarrassing to see foreigners shake their heads in disbelief looking at a damaged faucet wrapped in plastic packing tape. The departure area was comparatively better except there was not a single food kiosk in the place and you had to ask for a paper cup at the clinic to get a drink from one solitary dispenser. With Boracay shut down, the DOTr and the DOT better inspect alternative destinations particularly airports and improve their facilities as well as re-train their personnel.

Yes Secretary Tugade; Time to get Angry!

*      *      *

Unless plans change, I was told that Task Force Boracay or the Inter-Agency body handling the Boracay rehabilitation will formally present their plan and schedules tomorrow the 17th of April. Needless to say, it will be a tense day for all concerned and hopefully everyone has become resigned to their fate that they will simply go with the flow. Otherwise the activity could be equivalent to tossing a lit match on highly flammable material.

Let’s all take time out and “Say a little prayer” that the spirit of cooperation and “Bayanihan” will simply kick in and the stakeholders won’t let politically opportunistic elements take advantage by stoking further resentment, anger or protests. As I’ve said before along with many others, we all contributed to Boracay’s current state of being. We loved it, used it, sold it and abused it.

Now, we must all help and the very least would be by prayer because “The prayers of the righteous, avails much” James 5:16. There is also the promise of GOD where he tells us: “ If my people who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land.

Beyond prayers, I heard that a number of locals have decided to use their “down time” helping in the clean up of clogged canals and drainages. One of the leaders compared the efforts to a scene in the Bible in the book of Nehemiah, where each family was assigned to fix, maintain and guard the wall of Jerusalem that was in front of their property or house.

In Boracay, the equivalent was done in what Pinoys have called “Tapat ko – Linis Ko.” The clean-up project, which falls under TIEZA or Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority has quietly been moving along and observers have noted that on occasion, some residents would be teary eyed while working because it served as a release from all the uncertainty. It was also a way for giving locals a chance to get involved in the right direction. That is really what the locals have been asking; let them be part of the solution!

*      *      *


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with