Editorial: ‘Only in the PH. Sigh’

A Filipino businessman was one of the passengers of a plane that took off from Tokyo International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.

The plane was bound for the Philippines; however, three hours into the flight, it went back to Japan. The businessman later learned that there was a glitch that hit the air traffic control system in the Philippines.

That businessman who shared his experience on Twitter was Manuel V. Pangilinan.

MVP tweeted that his flight was “six hours of useless flying,” adding that returning to Tokyo airport was an “inconvenience to travelers.”

Pangilinan was one of the over 56,000 passengers who were scheduled to either arrive at or depart from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City and other airports, including the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, in the country affected by the air traffic control system glitch.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has admitted that the failure in the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) equipment triggered the problem. A UPS is an equipment that acts as a battery for a system, in case of a power interruption.

The Senate will conduct an investigation to shed light on the incident, which was described by Sen. Grace Poe as a “national security concern.” “Thousands of lives depend on the efficiency and competence of CAAP. There needs to be transparency and accountability from CAAP,” she said.

Poe’s fellow senator, JV Ejercito, said CAAP has a “lot of explaining to do.”

Sen. Nancy Binay said the air traffic control system glitch may affect the Philippines’ tourism industry as it could push tourists to reconsider their decision to visit the country. In a statement, she said: “Sadly, we just hogged the headlines in every news channel and newspaper abroad. How do we guarantee a unique, high-value experience to our foreign guests if we don’t address, find solutions, and fix our broken public transport system?”

The glitch was no joke, and the Senate investigation must look into the real cause behind it. Hopefully, it can legislate meaningful laws that can strengthen CAAP and avoid a repeat of such glitch in the future.

What a way for the country to begin the year 2023.

MVP ended his tweet by saying, “Losses to tourism and business are horrendous. Only in the PH. Sigh.”