Seven members of the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) together with the Safe Travel Alliance (STA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the House and Senate to reconsider the bill creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board and subsequently approve the same bill in the 19th Congress.
American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ANZCHAM), Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (CanCham), European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines ECCP), Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc (JCCII), Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (KCCP), and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc. (PAMURI) issued the call Monday.
In a letter sent by the members of the JFC to the Senate Public Services and House Transportation Committees, amid ongoing congressional hearings on the recent airport fiasco, the JFC expressed support for the creation of the PTSB. Currently, all investigations on transportation accidents are undertaken by the government agencies that have regulatory powers over the respective sector of the transportation industry.
The recent incident involving the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the alleged faulty air traffic management system has brought air transportation safety – and transportation safety, in general – in the spotlight. It was a strong reminder of the need to pass legislation creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB), the groups said.
They allege that since most of the agencies are also tasked to regulate and/or operate the sector, there is an inherent conflict of interest in the performance of their duties as an investigating bodies.
The bills seek to create the PTSB, an independent and impartial transport safety body patterned after best practices in other countries that will address regulatory gaps in the transport safety bureaucracy, facilitate the enhancement of transportation safety measures and standards, and coordinate all the actions of relevant public and private entities toward the common goal of ensuring transport safety.
Both legislative houses approved the bill during the previous Congress but it was vetoed during the early days of the new administration.
Stakeholders expressed optimism that the current Congress can refine the bill so that the reasons cited for the veto can be addressed. Once enacted, the proposed PTSB can immediately enforce measures to prevent major transportation accidents which compromise the lives of the traveling public.