Beng urges House probe on PAL’s restructuring PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 December 2012 13:55

House Deputy Speaker Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco filed House Resolution 2898 on Monday, November 26, urging the House Committee on Transportation to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation into the restructuring of the operations of Philippine Airlines (PAL) in some areas of Mindanao.

The lady legislator representing the first district of Zamboanga City pushed for the House committee to assess the impact on local economies of the areas concerned and investigate excessive pricing by competing domestic airline carriers in response to the restructuring of operations of PAL.

On October 28, 2012, PAL ceased to operate in some major routes and began to restructure their operations by designating Airphil Express to some parts of Mindanao.
“As a result of PAL’s decision to abandon its flights in Zamboanga City, only Cebu Pacific and PAL’s low-cost subsidiary, Airphil Express, are left to serve the Manila-Zamboanga and Cebu-Zamboanga routes. The obvious result is a substantial reduction in weekly flights to and from our city,” the Deputy Speaker manifested.

In her privilege speech delivered at the plenary last week, she stressed: “What is clear to me is that the decision of Philippine Airlines to stop its flights in and out of
Zamboanga City has serious repercussions to our city and neighboring provinces such as Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.”

“Given the reduction in flights, the natural consequence is a drastic increase in airfare. Other necessary consequences given the limited flight options and high airfare, include limiting the arrivals of local and foreign tourists, as well as causing inconvenience, and to a certain degree, anxiety to the riding public by not affording them sufficient choices in the type of service and flight schedule that they desire,” Climaco further stressed.

Climaco gained support from various lawmakers in Mindanao including Rep. Loreto Leo Ocampos, Rep. Pedro Romualdo, Rep. Angelica Amante-Matba, Rep. Tupay Loong, Rep. Florencio Flores, Rep. Jorge Almonte, and Rep. Jesus Emmanuel Paras, all co-authored the said measure.

“I respectfully move that an inquiry in aid of legislation be conducted by the House Committee on Transportation to determine whether there is a need to craft legislation that will prevent airlines from unduly abandoning certain routes at the expense of the province or city and its residents, promote healthy competition among airlines that will benefit the riding public in terms of competitive airfares and excellent service, and ensure that the State continues to exercise a degree of control over the airlines given the public interest and public good that they are supposed to serve by virtue of their respective franchises,” the lady Deputy Speaker added in her privilege speech. — Marvin Segura