DOTC official hits aviation executive over ICAO letter

Posted at 11/26/10 1:29 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A ranking official of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) yesterday advised the head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) against blocking Philippine aviation reforms, especially as “we as a country are getting back our Category 1 status.”

DOTC Undersecretary Dante Velasco scored Director General Alfonso Cusi for “deliberately misleading the public as to the true intent of a letter from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requesting postponement of the audit of the country’s civil aviation sector.”

Nowhere in the letter did ICAO official Henry Gourdji state or hint anything remotely related to the new appointees who, precisely are there to make up for the deficiencies of Cusi in the area of real aviation training and experience, Velasco stressed.

The DOTC official expressed the wish that “the personal agenda of one person sould not come in the way of the restoration of the Category 1 status to Philippine aviation.”

Cusi did not hide his displeasure over the appointment of the 7 new executives to the CAAP management, “when the prudent and patriotic thing to do is to welcome such appointments, because they can collectively work together for a common goal for Philippine aviation.”

Velasco said he has a copy of the letter and the ICAO executive who signed it even sounded apologetic that the audit would have to be postponed due to “operational reasons.’”

In a Nov. 10, 2010 letter, Gourdji said the ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) would be postponed owing to operational reasons.

“We will endeavor to work with you to re-schedule the mission for mutually agreed upon dates,” said Gourdji, chief of the ICAO’s Continuous Monitoring and Oversight Section, Air Navigation Bureau.