Honrado blames media, workers blame him for woes
MANILA International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado on Monday blamed the media for magnifying a number of incidents at his agency—leaking roofs, sink holes, collapsing ceilings, power outages and “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting)—for want of anything “big” to write about.
Honrado made the statement on Monday after his last flag-raising ceremony as MIAA head, a post he had thought would be a “walk in the park.”
He attributed the beginning of his woes to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) being named in 2011 as the world’s worst airport in an international travel website.
Honrado said he and other Naia workers were disheartened by the title.
“And media started branding us, hounding us day in and day out,” Honrado said.
He said MIAA was “devastated” by the tanim-bala incidents in 2015 after the agency was blamed for failure to resolve the problem even if it was not directly involved in the airport security screening process.
Honrado described as a “blessing in disguise” the five-hour power outage that hit Naia Terminal 3 last April, which left tens of thousands of passengers stranded.
“We became more aware of the importance of maintenance,” he said.
“The succeeding months proved to be nonsignificant but not to the media. The broken glass panels, a 2×2 meter slab falling, the low water pressure and the wrong spelling of the signages were highlighted for lack of something big,” Honrado said.
Crossing the Rubicon
He told the Naia employees: “I dare say, we survived them all. Thanks to your patience, your cooperation and persistence, we were able to cross the Rubicon.”
“Please accept the assumption that I did my job as my conscience and competence allowed me to do it,” he said.
But as he enumerated his milestones at MIAA, employees jeered him, resentful over unpaid—and sometimes even withheld—benefits in the six years Honrado had headed the agency.
Over 1,000 job order personnel (JOP)—contractual workers at the Naia usually assigned to maintenance work in the four terminals—remained bound to six-month contracts for several years without regularization and benefits.
The longest staying JOP had been working at the airport for at least 15 years.
Bonuses in gift checks
In December 2015, the MIAA converted JOP Christmas bonuses, the value of which depended on days worked for the entire year, from money to gift certificates. Most JOP who were strapped for cash were forced to sell the gift checks hundreds of pesos below their value.
As contractual workers of the MIAA, they said they were compelled to take 15 days of vacation leave without pay every six months before the renewal of their contracts. They had to enroll for membership in the Social Security Service and Philippine Health Corp. on their own although they were government employees.
One JOP told the Inquirer that when a coworker died two years ago, they had to chip in for his burial expenses with no help coming from the MIAA management for the contractual worker.
As for the JOPs who have retired, “they did not receive anything because they were not regular employees,” the contractual employee said.
Even regular employees were not sad to see Honrado go.
Samahang Manggagawa ng Paliparan ng Pilipinas president Ceferino Lopez said that while the workers cannot blame Honrado for their losing performance bonuses, they lacked compassion for the employees’ welfare.
Lopez expressed hope that the new general manager would look out for the workers’ welfare.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.