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Poe pushes for independent transpo safety board anew to probe incidents like airspace shutdown

Senator Grace Poe on Thursday revived her call for the creation of an independent transportation safety board to investigate similar incidents like the New Year's Day airspace shutdown where government agencies were involved.

In her opening speech during the Senate public services committee's investigation into the air traffic system glitch last January 1, Poe said there is a need to tackle Senate Bill 1121 or the bill creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) whose mandate is not only to investigate on transport-related accidents but to also look at its causes and help prevent them.

"Kasi ngayon ang nag-iimbestiga ay DOTr (Department of Transportation) at CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) rin pero sila ang involved mismo. So it will be really important to ensure impartiality. Eh di ini-imbestigahan mo ang sarili mo. Paano yon?" Poe said.

During the 18th Congress, a bill creating the PTSB was approved by both houses, but it was vetoed by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in July 2022.

In his veto message, Marcos said "the functions intended for the aforementioned Safety Board are already being undertaken by different agencies under the Department of Transportation such as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Land Transportation Office, Philippine Coast Guard, Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board, and Maritime Industry Authority as well as the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation."

Marcos said that creating a new body will only “create functional duplication, confusion as to authority, ineffectiveness, and deficiency in the performance of the responsibilities.”

Poe, who sponsored the bill in the 18th Congress, contradicted Marcos' veto message, saying the proposed PTSB is an independent board which is currently nonexistent.

"Apparently, it was redundant but how can it be redundant having an independent body which we don't have now?" she said.—AOL, GMA Integrated News