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DOTr totally shuts door on Miascor

/ 06:15 PM March 15, 2018

A complaint from Jovenil dela Cruz, who found his luggage forced open at Clark International Airport, prompted President Duterte to order the termination of Miascor’s contract. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Employees of Miascor Aviation Services, the embattled company with over 4,000 workers, made a final plea to the government on Thursday to consider their jobs and families when it decided not to renew crucial airport contracts.

The bad news came a few hours later when the Department of Transportation (DOTr), following what it said was the “clear directive” of President Rodrigo Duterte, announced it was standing firm on its decision not to renew the company’s contract with the Manila International Airport Authority beyond April 2018.

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“The President has also said that he will not entertain any appeal from Miascor Aviation Services,” the DOTr added in its statement.

The reason cited was the case of luggage theft by six Miascor employees in Pampanga’s Clark International Airport in December last year—an issue that went viral on social media.

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READ: Irked by airport theft, Duterte ends handling firm contract

Miascor, the country’s largest independent ground handling company, dealt with the matter swiftly, compensating the victim while filing administrative and criminal cases against the perpetrators. But this did not appease Duterte, who called for the termination of the 44-year-old company’s contract with MIAA, which runs the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, last Jan. 19, 2018.

Miascor immediately appealed what it deemed was a heavy-handed response. But its woes did not end there.

Its contract with Clark Airport was also cancelled while its other operations in the Kalibo and Davao airports were likewise not renewed. It had also been recently awarded a contract to provide ground handling services in Mactan Cebu International Airport, which is privately run. Without being given a definitive reason, this too was reversed.

Miascor’s employees have been living under a cloud of uncertainty since Duterte’s announcement last January. They organized protest rallies and even took their appeal to social media.

Following one such rally on Thursday, Miascor training and development manager Ritchel Bernardo told the Inquirer that employees still hoped that Duterte would soften his stance given reforms implemented by Miascor.

“The decision on us was really overkill,” she said in an interview before the DOTr announced their appeal had been denied. “What we are fighting for is the welfare of the workers and our families.”

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Tugade said earlier that other aviation companies could hire Miascor’s existing workforce.

Services such as those provided by Miascor are crucial in the aviation business but stay unseen to most flyers. These services include aircraft marshalling and towing, maintenance, catering and cargo warehousing. /jpv

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TAGS: DoTr, duterte, Miascor, service provider
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