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New airport leaves 25 porters jobless


PRESIDENT Aquino leads the final inspection of Laguindingan Airport in Barangay San Isidro, Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, on June 11. MALACAÑANG PHOTO BUREAU

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—David Anas almost fell on his knees after learning that his group, the Cagayan de Oro Airport SkyCap Multipurpose cooperative, will not be part of the team that will move to the new Laguindingan Airport.

Anas has been a porter at Lumbia Airport since 1972 and is one of the original members of the cooperative.

Staring blankly at the distance, with tears streaming down his face, Anas said: “What they did is hurting us.”

Anas was referring to a decision announced by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that the cooperative’s services are no longer needed at the new airport.

Carlito Espejon, another porter who took his father’s place in 1999, said they were betrayed by the CAAP and the airport management.

“We asked them, we wrote them letters, we spoke with them but they gave us no definite answer about what will happen to us,” Espejon said.

Eulogio Remotigue, the cooperative’s vice chair, said they sought an audience with CAAP officials but were turned down.

“Now we don’t even know what hit us. They told us only a day before they closed Lumbia Airport that we were not part of the plan at Laguindingan,” Remotigue said.

Bernardo Banuag, a former security guard who replaced his father-in-law as a porter, said he did not know how to tell his family that he has lost his job.

“We have families to feed. They (CAAP officials) are not the only ones who need to eat rice and send children to school,” Banuag said.

Cooperative president Rolando Obligario said the group, which has 25 members, has been paying P15,000 a month in taxes and dues to Lumbia Airport.

“We have a certificate of good standing as a cooperative given to us by the Cooperative Development Authority and now they just tell us that we are not part of the plans for Laguindingan Airport,” Obligario said.

Each member pays P70 in daily contribution for social security services, PhilHealth and airport dues. A porter at Lumbia Airport earns an average of P500 per day.

“This is the only job we know that gives us dignity. Where will we go?” Obligario said.

Obligario said that if they found that Laguindingan Airport would have its own porters, they would sue CAAP.

The Inquirer Mindanao has repeatedly tried to contact airport manager Mohammed Naga Rascal but calls and text messages were left unanswered.

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Tags: Airports , Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines , News , Regions , Unemployment

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