No disruptions at Naia, Clark, Palace vows
THE Palace on Sunday said there will be no disruption of services at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Clark International Airport terminals after the government decided against renewing the contract for baggage handling services of Miascor Groundhandling Corp. over several instances of reported theft.
“Our airport authorities have assured us that there will be no service disruption that will affect the traveling public,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a statement on Sunday.
“There is nothing to appeal as government has no existing contract with Miascor Groundhandling Corporation,” said Roque.
Roque also said the Manila International Airport Authority’s (MIAA’s) lease and concession agreement contract with Miascor has already expired.
Roque said, in light of the recent directive of President Rodrigo Duterte, the position of the MIAA is not to renew the contract following its expiration because of many instances of pilferage, both in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.
“These include the theft committed to the wife of a Turkish diplomat and the alleged involvement of a Miascor supervisor with illegal drugs,” said Roque.
“We have to look at the bigger picture: Our national interest is of paramount importance. In particular, we need to protect airport travelers from baggage theft, especially overseas Filipino workers who work so hard to earn a living, and to make sure that potential tourists and investors are not turned off by such incidents at the airport,” he said.
“We are concerned with the workers but we cannot give their employer a concession on that basis alone, considering all the thefts by Miascor,” Roque said.
“Having said this, qualified Miascor personnel will be absorbed by other existing ground handlers,” he said.
The fact is the jobs are there so these will be filled up either by new hires or qualified staff from Miascor, said Roque.
“On the proposal to create Presidential Action Desks in our airports, NAIA authorities have been proven effective in this regard,” said Roque.
The MIAA will not renew its contract with ground handler Miascor, which is set to expire on March 31, following luggage thefts involving Miascor employees.
On Friday, Jan. 19, MIAA General Manager Eddie Monreal wrote a letter to Miascor president Fidel Reyes, asking his company to vacate the premises it occupies at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) within 60 days.
This comes after six employees of Miascor at the Clark International Airport were charged with theft in connection to a luggage pilferage incident.
The victim involved an overseas Filipino worker whose video of his looted baggage was widely circulated on Facebook.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, Jan. 18, warned he would fire airport officials if similar cases of theft happen again.
Duterte personally apologized to Jovenil dela Cruz, an overseas Filipino worker and a victim of luggage theft at Clark airport.
Duterte called a meeting with airport and transportation officials to resolve the luggage theft issue on Thursday.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered all baggage handlers to wear body cameras.
Tugade also gave security firms operating in airports five days to clean their ranks.
Airport officials were asked to produce an initial 100 cameras, while security firms were directed by the transportation chief to buy their own, said the MIAA chief.