PALACE URGED TO SEEK SENATE OKAY OF NEW AIR PACT WITH U.S.

MANILA, OCTOBER 16, 2003  (STAR) Sen. Ralph Recto urged Malacañang yesterday to consult the Senate on any new air service agreement it would negotiate with the United States.

"To protect the country’s aviation interests, it would be better for the executive department to consult us on this very crucial issue before entering into a new air transport arrangement with the US," he said.

He said the consultation would ensure Senate ratification of any new air treaty that the two countries could agree on.

Recto made the appeal a few days after filing Resolution 690 in which he said the 1980 RP-US Air Transport Agreement is not valid since it was never submitted to the Senate for ratification.

He said the Constitution requires that all international treaties and agreements be submitted to the Senate for approval or rejection.

Two weeks ago, President Arroyo created a three-man panel to negotiate a new air service arrangement with the US. Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople, Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon and Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza comprise the committee.

Meanwhile, hundreds of local aviation industry workers trooped to the Senate yesterday to support the Recto initiative and denounced what they described as efforts by US carriers to dominate the country’s skies.

"The Senate should not let foreign carriers rule our airports. Open Skies is like a dreaded pest that will kill the jobs of our aviation industry workers," said the protesters who included employees of flag carrier Philippine Airlines. — Jess Diaz


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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