Reportedly, the Philippine government through the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Mar Roxas has issued a Letter of Intent aimed at suspending overtime pays to Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) officers that the latter has been charging airlines management in decades.
It can be concluded based on the report of Philippine Star that the government initiative to suspend overtime pay was a dutiful response to the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) inquiry addressed to the government to look into the possible corruption or malversation of public funds.
What is that again? Does it mean that BAR is only concerned for the possible corruption of public funds and thus motivated them to address their concern to the president?
Reportedly, according to Philippine Star,
BAR has complained of being required to shoulder the overtime pay of Customs, immigration and quarantine personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
In a recent statement, BAR said the overtime pay and other allowances airport customs personnel had demanded were unnecessary with the 24-hour, three-shift work schedule laid out during the time of Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez.
The same daily reported last April 27, 2012 that Bayani Agabin, spokesperson for BAR, expressed that the complaint filed before the Ombudsman by the airport Customs examiners against their immediate superiors for alleged padding of overtime claims justified the “longstanding” suspicion of overcharging and abuse of overtime arrangement.
In several reports, BAR did not only complained once or twice about this what has become a “tradition” of charging overtime payments to them. Much for the Filipinos concern, BAR has opposed for this “tradition” over a decade!
What are they trying to say? Are they implying that they were already fed up by being a “milking cow” for over a decade?
In my point of view, conclusively, had BAR or airlines companies long been aiming at high return of investment (ROI) yet at low cost of production, which they had never realized ever in Philippine soil? Definitely, this is pure business. But, how about the social responsibility and accountability of private business entities toward the citizens of the country their businesses has either booming or failing at so far?
What might be the reason why DOTC suspended overtime payments?
In a report of the Daily Tribune, DOTC Secretary Manuel Roxas II, according to him, “BAR cited the government for coming up with a holistic and integrated solution to this concern which is a step toward improving the business climate for air transport in the Philippines.”
So, as that statement went, I would presume that Aquino administration was not only “obeying”, nor was the government “favoring” to the private corporations but also was taking a bold stride to providing service the best as it could!
In fact, after the DOTC has served the LOI advising suspension of overtime pay, BAR led by chairman Felix Cruz lauded the administration, according to him, for “its commitment to ensure the efficient delivery of CIQ services through a feedback mechanism between the BAR, the DOTC and the concerned government agencies,” the report said.
As far as my opinion is concerned, consistently, it can not be denied that while Aquino administration is giving an attentive ear to the private business sector, it, oftentimes, has turned a deaf, insensitive ear to the clamor of the masses, to the cry of the farmers, and to the desperate call of the Filipinos for a decent living.
It was also reported that the government would only implement a 24/7 shift of operation to avoid overtime. So, by this, is it reasonable to suspend overtime payment charged to airlines company?
Was the government response to suspending overtime pay unlawful or unfaithful?
DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas, in a live interview on GMA News TV, remarked that CIQ officers were only “mulcting the airlines,” a local daily reported.
According to Manila Standard Today report,
Lawyer Floro Balato Jr., a senior immigration officer and group spokesman, slammed Roxas’ remarks as foul and insensitive, especially since the government withholds taxes on the overtime wages paid by airline companies.
Balato, Jr., the report said, added that,
Our people manning the counters are highly trained and therefore need some respect from insensitive government officials.
The report, furthermore, said that according to Balato
Roxas should be more sensitive to some 105 contractual employees who were hired to augment the CIQ officers and stand to lose their jobs if Roxas continues to violate Commonwealth Act No. 613, or the Philippine Immigration Act, and the Tariff and Customs Code.
Moreover, the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of that provision of Commonwealth Act No. 613 in the consolidated case of Carbonilla v. Board of Airlines Representative (G.R. 193247) and Office of the President v. BAR (G.R. 194276).
The issue on whether the DOTC decision suspending overtime pay charging to airlines companies is unlawful or not, the following excerpt from the Philippine Supreme Court decision would suffice the legitimate and accurate claim of CIQ officers:
The overtime pay of BOC employees may be paid by any of the following: (1) all the taxpayers in the country; (2) the airline passengers; and (3) the airline companies which are expected to pass on the overtime pay to passengers. If the overtime pay is taken from all taxpayers, even those who do not travel abroad will shoulder the payment of the overtime pay. If the overtime pay is taken directly from the passengers or from the airline companies, only those who benefit from the overtime services will pay for the services rendered (Emphasis mine). Here, Congress deemed it proper that the payment of overtime services shall be shouldered by the “other persons served” by the BOC, that is, the airline companies (Emphasis added). This is a policy decision on the part of Congress that is within its discretion to determine. Such determination by Congress is not subject to judicial review.
Now, it is clear that although the objective of the government to improving the business climate for air transport in the Philippines is good, there could be no other objectives better than the objectives of the law and as best as the interest for the common good of the public.
Suspending overtime payments is not only UNLAWFUL (unlawful because it violates the Section 7-A of Coomonwealth Act No. 613 ) but also UNFAITHFUL to the interest of the Filipino people.
Furthermore, the government could only implement a modification such as a plan to improve services thru a 24/7 shift to avoid overtime.
However, it doesn’t mean that by implementing a 24/7 shift is suspending the lawful charging of overtime payment to the airlines companies thereby freeing the latter from lawful obligations sustained by the highest court of the land.
Now, should the government continue to set aside or disrespect what has been upheld or sustained by the Supreme Court, then, it matters that the executive rather is the highest branch of the government where all powers vested by the Constitution shall without further ado be solely exercised by the president, himself. Is that so?
- ______________ . Airlines seeks Customs overtime padding probe. the Philippine Star. Updated April 27, 2012 12:00 A.M.
- _____________ . Common wealth Act No. 613. chanrobles.com
- Apolonio, Eric B. Roxas slams ‘mulcting’ workers. Manila Standard Today. August 18, 2012 12:02 A.M.
- Ching, Conrado. CIQ officers at Int’l airports hit DOTC over OT pay cut. the Daily Tribune. Friday, 17 August 2012 00:00
- Ronda, Rainier Allan and Santos, Rudy. DOTC lauded for suspending overtime pay of airport personnel. philstar.com. Updated August 14, 2012 12:00 A.M.
- Cebu airport workers slam loss of OT pay (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- No work slowdown, airport protesters vow (globalnation.inquirer.net)
Filed under: Laws and Jurisprudence, Opinion and Social Issues, Politics and Government Tagged: | Carbonilla v. BAR on overtime payment, CIQ officers overtime payment suspended, Commonwealth Act 613, DOTC implement 24/7 operation, DOTC lauded in suspending overtime, DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas suspends overtime pay, DOTC suspended overtime pays