On November 20, 1931, the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 39091 providing that the Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Communications has the duty, among others, to foster air commerce, encourage the establishment of airports, civil airways and other navigation facilities and investigate causes of air mishaps. As such, said Secretary has the power to administer and enforce air traffic rules, issue or revoke licenses and issue regulations necessary; to execute his vested functions.
On December 5, 1932, Act No. 39962 amended Act No. 3909 as to matters concerning the licensing of airmen and aircraft, inspection of aircraft, air traffic rules, schedules and rates and enforcement of aviation laws.
On December 9, 1932, Act No. 40333 was approved, providing, among others, that no aviation public service, including those of foreign aircrafts, shall operate in the Philippines without having first secured from the Philippine Legislature a franchise to operate an air service.
From 1932 to 1936, there were no standard procedures as to the licensing of airmen, registration of aircraft and recording of various aeronautical activities connected with commercial aviation. There were attempts made to register planes and their owners without ascertaining their airworthiness and to record names of pilots, airplane mechanics and other details. It was also narrated that in 1933, the office of Technical Assistant of Aviation Matters was expanded into the Aeronautics Division under the Department of Commerce and Industry, the functions of which were embodied in Administrative Order No. 309, a joint Bulletin issued by the Department of Public Works and Communications and the Department of Finance.
On November 12, 1936, the National Assembly passed Commonwealth Act No. 1684 otherwise known as the Civil Aviation Law of the Philippines, creating the Bureau of Aeronautics and organizing the same under the Department of Public Works and Communications.5 After the liberation of the Philippines in March 1945, the Bureau was reorganized and placed under the Department of National Defense. Among its functions was to promulgate civil aviation regulations.
On October 1947, Executive Order (E.O.) No. 94 which reorganized the government, transferred the Bureau of Aeronautics to the newly created Department of Commerce and Industry and renamed the same as the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).
On June 5, 1948, R.A. No. 2246 created the National Airports Corporation, serving as an agency of the Republic of the Philippines for the development, administration, operation and management of government-owned landing fields in the country except for those controlled and/or operated by the Armed Forces.
On November 10, 1950, the National Airports Corporation was abolished by E.O. No. 3657 and was replaced by the CAA.
On June 20, 1952, R.A. No. 7768 otherwise known as the Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines, was passed, reorganizing the Civil Aeronautics Board and the CAA, defining their respective powers and duties, making adjustments as to the funds and personnel and regulating civil aeronautics. Under R.A. No. 776, the CAA was charged with the duty of planning, designing, constructing, equipping, expanding, improving, repairing or altering aerodromes or such other structures, improvements or air navigation facilities.9
On October 19, 1956, former President Ramon Magsaysay issued E.O. No. 20910 transferring in toto the CAA to the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications from the Department of Commerce and Industry.
On January 20, 1975, Letter of Instruction No. 244, series of 197511 directed that all funds for the preliminary engineering, construction and maintenance of all national airports appropriated for the fiscal year 1974-75 be transferred and/or released to the Department of Public Highways. The responsibilities related to location, planning design and funding were later returned to the CAA.
On July 23, 1979, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued E.O. No. 54612 renaming the CAA as the Bureau of Air Transportation (BAT) and placing the same under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
Subsequently, BAT, though reorganized, was maintained under E.O. No. 12513 issued by former President Corazon C. Aquino (President Aquino) on January 30, 1987. Shortly thereafter or on April 13, 1987, President Aquino issued E.O. No. 125-A14 renaming BAT to ATO which would be headed by the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Air Transportation. Section 12 of said E.O. No. 125 which contained the proviso concerning BAT was deleted by Section 2 of E.O. No. 125-A.
On March 4, 2008, R.A. No. 9497 was passed, whereby ATO was replaced by CAAP, to be headed by the Director General of Civil Aviation. Pursuant to Sections 415 and 8516 thereof, the ATO was abolished, and all its powers were transferred to the CAAP.
CREATION OF CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 9497 which was approved on March 4, 2008. Under Chapter 1, Section 2 of said Republic Act, (Declaration of Policy), it is declared the policy of the State “to provide safe and efficient air transport and regulatory services in the Philippines by providing for the creation of a civil aviation authority with jurisdiction over the restructuring of the civil aviation system, the promotion, development and regulation of the technical, operational, safety, and aviation security functions under the civil aviation authority”.’
The creation of CAAP in 2008 is the main component of an intensive civil aviation reform program launched by the government. According to Chapter 1, Sec. 4 (Creation of the Authority), CAAP is “an independent regulatory body with quasi-judicial and quasi legislative powers and possessing corporate attributes attached to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) for the purpose of policy coordination”. The same provision also abolished the existing Air Transportation Office created under the provisions of Republic Act No. 776, as amended
To ensure availability of technically qualified and currently qualified personnel, the Act empowers CAAP to update its standards, system and procedures prescribed for civil aviation inspectorate, licensing, and oversight functions to comply with ICAO and other international aviation standards. It is allowed flexibility to incorporate new practices and procedures as they become available without the procedures required for promulgation of legally binding regulations (part 1 General Policies, Procedures and Definitions, PCAR)
Pursuant to Chapter II, Sec. 15, CAAP shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. All moneys earned by the Authority from the collection / levy of any and all such fees, charges, dues, assessments and fines it is empowered to collect / levy under this Act shall be used solely to fund the operations of the Authority.
The corporate powers of the Authority shall be vested in a board, which is composed of the following members:
(a) The Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications shall act as chairman ex officio;
(b) The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) shall automatically be the vice chairman of the Board;
(c) The Secretary of Finance;
(d) The Secretary of Foreign Affairs;
(e) The Secretary of Justice;
(f) The Secretary of the Interior and Local Government;
(g) The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment; and later the Secretary of Tourism pursuant to R.A. 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009.
1 Entitled, AN ACT CONCERNING THE LICENSING OF AIRMEN AND AIRCRAFT, AND INSPECTION OF THE SAME, CONCERNING AIR TRAFFIC RULES, CONCERNING SCHEDULES AND RATES OF AVIATION COMPANIES AND CONCERNING THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW, approved on November 20, 1931.
2 Entitled, AN ACT TO AMEND ACT NUMBERED THIRTY-NINE HUNDRED AND NINE CONCERNING THE LICENSING OF AIRMEN AND AIRCRAFT, INSPECTION OF THE SAME, AIR TRAFFIC RULES, SCHEDULES AND RATES OF AVIATION COMPANIES AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW, approved on December 5, 1932.
3 Entitled, AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF ACT NUMBERED THIRTY-ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED, “AN ACT CREATING A PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION AND PRESCRIBING ITS DUTIES AND POWERS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” approved on December 9, 1932.
4 Entitled, An ACT PROVIDING FOR THE PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION IN THE PHILIPPINES, CREATING THE BUREAU OF AERONAUTICS, AND DEFINING ITS POWERS, DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS, approved on November 12, 1936.
5 Section 4, Commonwealth Act No. 168.
6 Entitled, AN ACT TO CREATE A PUBLIC CORPORATION TO BE KNOWN AS THE “NATIONAL AIRPORTS CORPORATION,” TO DEFINE ITS POWERS AND DUTIES, TO APPROPRIATE THE NECESSARY FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, dated June 5, 1948.
7 Reorganizing the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Abolishing the National Airports Corporation [cited in Civil Aeronautics Administration v. Court of Appeals, 249 Phil. 27, 33 (1988)].
8 Entitled, AN ACT TO REORGANIZE THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD AND THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGULATION OF CIVIL AERONAUTICS IN THE PHILIPPINES AND AUTHORIZING THE APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS THEREFOR, approved on June 20, 1952.
9 Civil Aeronautics Administration v. Court of Appeals, supra note 26, at 36.
10 Entitled, PROVIDING FOR THE IMPLEMENTING DETAILS FOR REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. 60 RELATIVE TO PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATION AND LAND TRANSPORTATION.
11 Addressed to the Secretary of Public Highways, the Director of Civil Aviation, the Budget Commissioner and the
12 Entitled, CREATING A MINISTRY OF PUBLIC WORKS AND A MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, dated July 23, 1979.
13 Entitled, REORGANIZING THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS DEFINING ITS POWERS AND FUNCTIONS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, dated January 30, 1987.
14 Entitled, AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 125, ENTITLED “REORGANIZING THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, DEFINING ITS POWERS AND FUNCTIONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” dated April 13, 1987.
15 SEC. 4. Creation of the Authority. – There is hereby created an independent regulatory body with quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers and possessing corporate attributes to be known as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), hereinafter referred to as the “Authority”, attached to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for the purpose of policy coordination. For this purpose, the existing Air Transportation Office created under the provisions of Republic Act No. 776, as amended, is hereby abolished.
16 SEC. 85. Abolition of the Air Transportation Office. – The Air Transportation Office (ATO) created under Republic Act No. 776, a sectoral office of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), is hereby abolished.