Solon wants Cebu Pacific’s franchise suspended for ‘lousy service’
MANILA, Philippines — Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has suggested that Congress suspend the legislative franchise given to low-cost airliner Cebu Pacific due to “lousy service,” noting the volume of complaints from passengers about being offloaded and being harshly treated.
“A congressional franchise is a privilege that should not be used and enjoyed at the expense of the public. Congress should temporarily withdraw such privilege from Cebu Pacific until such time that it can provide satisfactory service to the riding public,” Rodriguez said on Wednesday as the Senate started its probe into complaints against the airline.
Among the complaints, which disgruntled passengers shared on social media, were overbooking, offloading, and failing to address their grievances.
According to Rodriguez, even his constituents in Cagayan de Oro have complained to him about those issues.
During the Senate hearing, the chief commercial officer of Cebu Pacific, Alexander Lao, apologized for the disruptions and the inconvenience, promising that management would resolve the issues.
Lao also noted that the grounding of 120 Pratt and Whitney (PW)-powered Airbus planes worldwide has impacted the operations of Cebu Pacific and other carriers.
But Rodriguez said that the airline should be ready for these realities on the ground.
“Even if that is true, that’s their own lookout. The public should not be made to suffer for their inefficiency. But to me, that is just palusot [an alibi],” he said.
“The issue is not about the availability of spare parts or maintenance but Cebu Pacific selling plane tickets when they don’t have the necessary aircraft to carry passengers for whatever reason. They should stop selling tickets, period,” Rodriguez said.
In the meantime — should Cebu Pacific’s franchise be suspended — Rodriguez appealed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to allow foreign airlines to operate locally, as provided for under the recently-amended Public Service Act.
“The government should now open the country and invite foreign airlines to serve Filipinos, who should have options other than being forced to take Cebu Pacific with its terrible service,” Rodriguez said.