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Brief History of the Office for Transportation Security

National Action Committee on Anti-Hijacking (NACAH) -  April 28, 1976

The National Committee on Anti Hijacking (NACAH) is considered to be the forebear of what we know now as the Office for Transportation Security (OTS). Due to the increasing threat to the civil aviation industry in 1976, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 399,  organizing NACAH, as a committee responsible for the planning and implementation of security measures to suppress any and all forms of hijacking, having the Secretary of the National Defense (SND) as its Chairman.

Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM) – June 1, 1976

On 01 June 1976, the Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM) was organized to serve as the implementing arm of the NACAH, whose primary mission is to ensure the continued uninterrupted operations of civil aviation industry in the country. This was later renamed to as the Philippine Air Force Security Command or PAFSECOM, by virtue of AFP GHQ GO Number 37 on 01 March 1986.

Republic Act No. 6975 – December 13, 1990

As part of civil aviation security evolution, in 1990, Republic Act (RA) No. 6975, otherwise known as “An Act Establishing The Philippine National Police Under A Reorganized Department Of The Interior And Local Government, And For Other Purposes”, was enacted.  It established the Philippine National Police, under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and further gave the PNP the power to absorb the office of the NACAH and assume the missions and functions of the PAFSECOM. It created the Aviation Security Unit, tasked to secure all the country’s airports against offensive and terroristic acts, later known to be the PNP Aviation Security Group (AVSEGROUP). In addition, the passage of RA 6975 led to the issuance of Executive Order No. 452 by former President Corazon Aquino on 05 April 1991, transferring the Chairmanship of the NACAH from the SND to the Secretary of DILG (SILG).

National Action Committee on Anti-Hijacking and Terrorism (NACAHT) – May 18, 1995

On 18 May 1995, former President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No. 246 reconstituting NACAH into the National Action Committee on Anti-Hijacking and Terrorism (NACAHT), which factored in mechanisms needed to contain threats of terrorism in the aviation sector, thus provide the country with stronger law enforcement capabilities.

National Council for Civil Aviation Security (NCCAS) (Executive Order No. 336) – January 5, 2001

On 05 January 2001, former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, issued Executive Order No. 336, further reconstituting NACAHT into the National Council for Civil Aviation Security (NCCAS), which defines specific functions of the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime and NACAHT, to prevent overlapping of functions which may lead to strategic and tactical problems in the implementation of security measures.

September 11 Attack and the Office for Transportation Security

On September 11, 2001, an elaborated and extremely destructive series of attacks using commercial planes brought light to security issues in the aviation industry, which prompted global action to adopt Standard 3.1.2 of the Annex 17 to Chicago Convention otherwise known as the International Civil Aviation Organization. This required each Contracting State to designate and specify to ICAO an appropriate authority within its administration to be responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP).

Executive Order No. 277 – January 30, 2004

On 30 January 2004, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, responded to this call by issuing Executive Order No. 277, creating the Office for Transportation Security, who shall be primarily responsible for the implementation of Annex 17 to the International Civil Aviation Organization. The same law approved the NCASP and reconstituted the NCCAS into National Civil Aviation Security Committee (NCASC).

Executive Order No. 311 – April 30, 2004

Succeeding events however, exposed vulnerabilities in the transport security in the country, especially in the maritime and land transportation sectors.

In 2004, the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Superferry 14, killing over a hundred of people onboard. This was widely tagged as the most deadliest at sea, placing Philippines’ maritime security under pressure.

Former President Arroyo at that time, strived to stabilize the security situation of the country, thus far rectified Executive Order No. 277, through the issuance of Executive Order No. 311, designating OTS as the single authority, who shall be responsible in ensuring the implementation of security measures for land, sea and air transport in the country. This emphasizes the regulatory requirements in adopting standardized security measures following international protocols.