Senator Sonny Angara has called on airport authorities to look into the compliance of air carriers with the air passenger bill of rights which guarantees compensation for cancelled flights following the Xiamen Airways plane mishap at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) runway.
“While our primary goal is to prevent such NAIA runway incident from happening again, we must also ensure that all affected passengers of the over 600 cancelled flights were given proper care and assistance. Maraming pamilya ang naabala sa insidenteng ito, kasama na ang daan-daang OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) na nangamba para sa kanilang trabaho,” Angara said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has provided P5,000 cash assistance to 403 stranded OFWs. It has also instructed Philippine embassies to issue certifications to OFWs, who would have to explain to foreign employers why their flights were delayed.
The seasoned legislator, sponsor of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) law, said OWWA should have also stepped in, as the incident “clearly qualified as OFWs in distress, and thus deserve assistance.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism said it will meet with the Manila International Airport Authority and the Civil Aeronautics Board to further discuss the instances of Compensation for Cancelled Flights under the Air Passenger Bill of Rights.
Under the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, in cases of flight cancellation, air carriers are obligated to provide sufficient refreshments and meals, hotel accommodation, transportation from airport to the hotel, free phone calls, free text messages or e-mail, and first aid, if necessary.
Furthermore, passengers must be reimbursed of the value of the fare, be endorsed to another air carrier, or rebooked to the next flight available without additional charge.
During the Senate hearing, it was revealed that not all passengers were given food and accommodation, and not all were informed on the changes of flight schedule.
“We encourage our authorities to discuss whether reforms and additional aid are necessary to further strengthen the protection of passengers, and to ensure that immediate compensation is provided. Kasabay nito, dapat ay madaliin na rin ang pag-decongest ng NAIA, pati na ang pag-develop ng secondary international gateways at provincial airports,” the veteran lawmaker said.
“We encourage our authorities to discuss whether reforms and additional aid are necessary to further strengthen the protection of passengers, and to ensure that immediate compensation is provided.”
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, of the 71 airports in the country, only 11 can accommodate international flights.
“Ang NAIA at iba pang airport ay dapat ituring na bahagi ng ating turismo na dapat pagandahin at ayusin. Anumang aberya sa ating mga airport, partikular na sa NAIA, ay makaaapekto sa ating efforts na mag-attract ng mga turista sa bansa,” the senator said.
“We should get our acts together to sustain our tourism growth to help boost the economy and create jobs,” Angara added.
“We should get our acts together to sustain our tourism growth to help boost the economy and create jobs.”
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