House panel directs DOTr to submit crash incident protocol

MANILA To prevent a repeat of the chaos at the country's premier gateway due to a runway closure, a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday directed transport agencies - led by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) - to submit a revised crisis management team, crash incident protocol, and an overall aviation policy in the country.

During the congressional hearing on the runway mishap at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the House transportation committee also requested an insurance audit for all airports.

The concerned agencies include the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Clark International Airport (CIA), and Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).

Committee chairman Cesar Sarmiento stressed that transport agencies should be on top of emergency situations, such as the NAIA runway mess.

We want to make sure that we move forward and learned the lessons so that we can be more efficient in times of emergencies and more sensitive to the needs of our people, Sarmiento said.

Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento moved for the submission of the requested documents within two weeks.

The Samar solon said the improved crisis management team should include lead agencies, team membership, sub-units, responsibilities of all government agencies involved, how the team would be activated, and how they should handle all kinds of crisis such as excursions, accidents, and incidents.

He said the crash incident protocol should indicate ways to ensure continuity of airport operations while investigation or retrieval is ongoing.

He also asked the DOTr and CAAP to provide a short- and long-term aviation policy for NAIA, Clark Airport, and Sangley Airport.

He noted that the overall aviation policy should detail how to improve coordination among existing airports, including customs and immigration aspects, and enable more airports to accommodate diverted flights.

Xiamen Air Flight MF8667 veered off NAIA's main runway during landing at 11:55 p.m. on August 16, losing its landing gear and left engine in the process.

It took aviation authorities 36 hours before the stalled Boeing 737-800 was removed from the international runway, which resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights, leaving tens of thousands of passengers, including hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), stranded for days. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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