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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Manila readies open-skies law

THE Aquino administration is studying the possibility of declaring a “pocket open-skies” policy to “give substance to the administration’s message that the Philippines is open for business,” an official said Wednesday.

Solicitor General Joel Cadiz said he had drafted an executive order to that effect, but he declined to say if it was patterned after Executive Order 500-A that partially liberalized the air services at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.

“It can still undergo a big revision, so I would prefer not to to give details yet,” Cadiz said.

“The Cabinet cluster just had preliminary talks on the issue.”

A Palace source said a more liberal air services policy was part of the agenda of the meeting of the Cabinet economic cluster with the President last week.

Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim had earlier submitted a memorandum to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima citing the recommendations of the inter-agency task force on open skies composed of the Transport, Trade and Justice Departments and the National Economic and Development Authority.

Lim broached the idea of adopting a pocket open-skies policy similar to EO 500-A, as well as the lifting of the common carrier tax and the gross billing tax on airlines.

A separate memorandum from the Cabinet economic cluster underscored the importance of liberalizing the country’s air services to “give substance to the administration’s message that the Philippines is open for business.

“We recommend that this administration’s reform agenda should pursue the full implementation of civil aviation liberalization policy pursuant to Executive Order No. 219,” said the two-page memo from Purisima, Lim, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Transport Secretary Jose de Jesus, NEDA Director-General Cayetano Paderanga, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and Energy Secretary Rene Almendras.

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