Lawmakers warn PAL, Cebu Pacific

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Lawmakers have warned two major airline companies in the Philippines that their franchises will be reviewed in Congress if they do not address complaints of costly fare and delayed flights.

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“The reason you can operate is that our bosses, the Filipino people, allow you to do so. Do not take advantage. Your enterprise is imbued with public interest. Wake up and shape up,” Ilocos Norte First District Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas told Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines during a recent hearing of the Senate committee on transportation.

“Tell your corporate bosses that I will review your franchise. We can amend your franchise anytime. You make a killing, we are at your mercy. You are taking advantage of the riding public,” Fariñas said.

According to Leyte 3rd District Rep. Vicente Veloso, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmello Arcilla might already be violating the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

According to Arcilla, the airline industry was already deregulated under Executive Order 219 issued during the Ramos administration, “establishing the domestic and international civil aviation liberalization policy.”

The lawmakers reminded Arcilla that an EO cannot trample on Republic Act 776, which gives a specific mandate to CAB to regulate and consider all market forces–airline companies (supply) and commuting public (demand)– before entering into agreements with airlines on ticket prices.

“Riding an airplane is meant to be convenient and time-efficient. Recent developments, however, show that air travel is not how it was envisioned to be,” transportation committee head and Catanduanes Lone District Rep. Cesar Sarmiento said.

“Today, it has become a reality for everyone, everyone who can handle the possibility of inconvenience, everyone who can face the risk of long delays and everyone who can afford the high price of tickets,” Sarmiento added.

Meanwhile, a technical working group headed by committee vice chairman and Samar First District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento was created to tackle the airline fare pricing and delayed flight issues.

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