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House to probe airport fiasco

/ 05:43 AM January 05, 2015
House committee on transportation chairman Catanduanes Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento.

House committee on transportation chairman Catanduanes Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento.

MANILA, Philippines–The House committee on transportation will conduct a hearing on Cebu Pacific Air and the holiday fiasco at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, which left thousands of passengers complaining about flight cancellations, overbooking and bad customer service.

“We will motu proprio call for a hearing to find out so that we will avoid this in the future, to find out what really happened, why it caused inconvenience to thousands of commuters,” said committee chairman Catanduanes Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento.

Sarmiento pointed out that even before the Dec. 24 and 25 fiasco at the airport, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares had already complained in a privilege speech about his experience on Cebu Pacific which caused him to miss one session day.

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Aquino also disturbed

“After his (Colmenares) speech, I approached him and told him that it was high time that we called the airline company to shed light on this matter,” said Sarmiento in an interview over dzBB radio.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said that President Aquino himself was disturbed by the images of thousands of passengers complaining about flight cancellations with hardly anyone from the airline coming forward to address complaints.

Sought for comment, Cebu Pacific vice president for corporate affairs Jorenz Tañada said: “We have not received the official resolution from Congress as of this time. We will cooperate in the congressional inquiry.”

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone has also filed a resolution asking the House committee on legislative franchises to review the franchise of Cebu Pacific for possible violations.

Consider public welfare

“The privilege of having a franchise is imbued with public interest. Cebu Pacific should have considered the public welfare. If it is found that Cebu Pacific violated the terms stipulated in the franchise, Congress should not hesitate to revoke the franchise,” said Evardone in a text message.

Sarmiento said he would await the committee on rules on whether the Cebu Pacific probe would be conducted jointly by the two committees.

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But Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, vice chair of the committee on transportation, has stated that an airline franchise could only be revoked if there was a gross violation of the terms of reference.

Mel Sarmiento also hinted that Cebu Pacific was already too big to be suspended or banned from the industry because of the “possible effects on connectivity, especially in an archipelago like ours that might lead to further chaos.”

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TAGS: Air Transport, bad customer service, Cebu Pacific, Consumer issues, Flight Cancellations, overbooking
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