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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Tech glitches at Senate, the US and Canada, too

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AS senators commenced their own investigation into the glitch that occurred on New Year’s Day that caused government to temporarily shut down Philippine airspace, the upper chamber too experienced its own technical glitch.

During Thursday’s joint hearing by the Committees on Public Services; Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation; and Finance,  audio from the microphones of the lawmakers and guest panelists kept switching on and off, such that queries and responses could not be heard audibly. This prompted Senator JV Ejercito to call in the Senate’s technical staff to fix the audio system, “because we also have a glitch.” The hearing was temporarily halted for some 10 minutes.


This developed as close to 3 million passengers and some 21,500 flights were affected in the United States on January 11, due to a system failure by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).  The FAA confirmed a failure in the Notice of Air Missions (NOTAM), which conveys flight conditions, hazards, and changes in airport operations, before planes can fly.

Similarly, Canada also suffered a system outage on the same day affecting their  NOTAMs. But the system was restored three hours after. NavCanada, which controls the air-traffic control system, said it “[does] not believe it to be related to the FAA outage experienced earlier today.” About 800 flights were scheduled to have flown in and out of Canada on Wednesday but it was not clear how many flights and passengers were actually affected by the brief system shutdown.

Odd coincidence? For most astrologers, these glitches in technology and communications are caused by a retrograde Mercury, which shows the planet’s orbit around the sun appearing to go in reverse, because it is traveling shower than the Earth. Mercury went retrograde on December 29 and will end on January 18, 2023.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, “The planet Mercury rules communication in all forms—listening, writing, reading, speaking, and so one—as well as activities closely related to communication, like negotiations and contracts. It also rules travel, automobile, shipping, and mail.”

DICT probing cause of breakdown

Other dates when Mercury goes retrograde are from April 21 to May 14, August 23 to September 14, and December 13, 2023 to January 1, 2024. #MercuryRetrograde has been one of the popular hashtags globally on Twitter, since December 29.

During the Senate hearing, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Manuel Tamayo said the Department of Information and Communications Technology is currently conducting a forensic investigation to find out why its circuit breaker tripped on January 1, 2023, causing the airspace shutdown for seven hours, and affecting over 600 flights and 65,000 passengers.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday also conducted its own investigation on the airspace shutdown, where it was revealed CAAP air traffic controllers were being poached by other countries, which offer six times their current entry-level salaries.

Image credits: AP/Ted Shaffrey

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