Holiday mess at NAIA

December 12, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Passengers’ waiting lines are unusually long and the situation could get worse during the holidays, spilling over into the start of the new year at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as foreign carriers feud with NAIA Customs personnel.
The latest installment in the yearlong dispute is the decision of the Airline Operators Council (AOC) to stop providing arrival cards to passengers on international flights.
AOC chairperson and KLM assistant station manager Maria Lourdes Reyes wrote a letter to NAIA Customs collector Carlos So, saying the carriers would no longer provide arrival cards effective Jan. 1, 2011.
The termination of the voluntary supply agreement for the cards, distributed to all incoming international passengers, was unanimously approved during a general membership meeting of the AOC at the NAIA last week.
The AOC has been providing arrival cards and Customs declaration forms for the NAIA terminals, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport at Clark, Pampanga, totaling around 1.5 million copies a month.
The AOC letter came at the heels of the letter of Delta Air country manager Steven Crowdey, first vice chairman of the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR), to Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez requesting him to stop the strike or disruption of service at the airport by his men.
The strike is reportedly due to the non-payment of the overtime rendered for the BAR by Customs personnel for the last 16 months.
Crowdey had said the work slowdown would greatly affect the tourism industry’s bid to attract more visitors to the country.
The AOC said the country is facing yet another problem with unruly Customs personnel taking their revenge on innocent passengers.
The BAR, whose officials lead the AOC, had received reports that personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) cease service after office hours or at 5 p.m. during weekdays and would not report for work during weekends and holidays.
The BAR had refused to pay the Customs workers’ overtime fees after the Court of Appeals, where the BOC lodged its complaint, ruled in favor of the air carriers.
Since the strike, there have been many instances where the BOC booth at the airport was undermanned, forcing arriving passengers to form long lines waiting for their clearance.
Some BOC officials said there are still employees who render service even after 5 p.m. during weekdays and who work during weekends and holidays for humanitarian consideration.
According to the AOC, the move of the BOC was intended to agitate the passengers and prompt them to hate the airline companies.
For the last 10 years, the AOC had been printing and distributing the arrival cards to all Philippine-bound passengers for free.
The country used up about 22 million copies a year, with Philippine Airlines being the biggest user at five million copies, followed by Cebu Pacific with three million copies.
The AOC also reiterated that suggestions made by some quarters for the BOC men to work in shifts, like the rest of other airport employees, should be taken seriously.
The AOC said the charging of overtime fees has become a neat racket.
The AOC further said it remains a puzzle why the government seems to be slow in addressing an impending airport mess, especially because the holiday season is fast approaching and thousands of balikbayans, tourists and overseas Filipino workers are expected to spend their vacation in the country.
Earlier, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said he is working on solving the various problems affecting the tourism industry.
Lim said he is trying to address the festering complaint of foreign carriers on the practice of immigration, Customs and quarantine of billing the airlines overtime charges for flight arrivals and departures after office hours.
Lim said he agrees with the principle that Customs, immigration and quarantine are Philippine government requirements that must be provided on a 24/7 basis and all costs must be borne by the government.

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For comments, inquiries and reservations, email or call these numbers:

(045) 599-5600 0922-870-5178 0917-520-4401


Getting to this fine dining restaurant of Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga Philippines
How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

Manila food and wine lovers are surprised to find world-class fine dining restaurants in Pampanga. Tourists looking for a good restaurant in Clark Pampanga to enjoy a good steak with a bottle of fine vintage wine often choose to wine and dine at Yats Restaurant which is generally regarded by food and wine lovers in Manila to be one of the best restaurants outside of Manila. This is one of the best restaurants to enjoy good cheese in Clark Pampanga. The wine cellars of this restaurant in Clark are recognized as the best in the Philippines. Visitors to Clark Philippines rarely pass up in the opportunity to dine at one of the best restaurants in Pampanga.

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