Philippines’ President Benigno Aquino deferred issuing an executive order (EO) to implement a pocket open skies policy, due plans to make some minor changes to the directive (Manila Bulletin, 07-Jan-2011/Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08-Jan-2011). The EO was previously to be signed on 07-Jan-2011. Mr Aquino plans to alter the composition of a panel that will negotiate the new policy. The President stated the open skies would be implemented to provide new opportunities for domestic carriers, not just foreign carriers. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa noted the EO will prohibit cabotage (Gulf News, 08-Jan-2011).
Philippine Government: “I am aware of the concerns of our local carriers and I can assure you that as we liberalise aviation, it will be undertaken in a way that will open up opportunities for competitive and world class domestic carriers like the Cebu Pacific. Once implemented, we expect more international airlines to enter the market. Aside from opening our doors to more visitors that will strengthen our tourism, this will also allow us to enjoy a free market for products to further boost our economy. This, of course, will redound to thousands of additional jobs, which in turn will provide decent living to many Filipino families. I ask everyone: do not let go, and fasten your seat belts. We have reached our cruising altitude of stronger trade, more jobs and greater public confidence in the government. The skies are clear, and we are headed for daylight. With the renewed confidence of the Filipino people, and with the help of partners such as the Cebu Pacific, I am confident that we will reach our destination ahead of schedule,” Benigno Aquino III, President. Source: Manila Bulletin, 08-Jan-2011.