Probe sought on the termination of extra pay for immigration officers-A A +A
Thursday, September 6, 2012
MANILA -- Three senators are asking the Senate to look into the alleged unfair decision of the government to terminate the charging and collection of overtime pay of customs, immigration and quarantine employees against airline companies.
"The policy disregards relevant provisions of the Philippine Immigration Act, Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, Quarantine Act of 2004 and Executive Order 292, as well as a Supreme Court decision," Senator Jinggoy Estrada said in proposed Senate Resolution 862.
Estrada was joined by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The measure is referred to the committees on public services and finance.
The resolution stated that the Philippine Immigration Act provides that immigration employees may be assigned by the Commissioner to do overtime work at rates fixed by him when the service rendered is to be paid for by the shipping companies and airlines or other persons served.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima thought otherwise as he urged President Benigno Aquino III in a memorandum dated July 31 to stop this practice because it will reportedly hurt the tourism industry due to additional cost for airlines.
In a separate letter, Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II advised the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) and Airline Operators Council (AOC) to stop paying overtime pay to said government employees effective August 1.
The Cabinet economic cluster then adopted a policy of implementing 24/7 shifting schedule and that the government will fully finance the services rendered by the employees in international airports.
Sought for comment, Immigration spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang said the Palace directive is not supported by law.
"We empathize with our immigration officers because the power to charge overtime pay is provided in our immigration law. Unless that law is amended the payment of overtime pay is legal. The BI hopes that a win win solution be achieved the soonest as this has caused anxiety in our ranks," she said in a text message to Sun.Star.
She said the bureau welcomed the Senate investigation so that the issue will be put to rest.
"The last thing we need is the demoralization of our immigration officers who are our gatekeepers and frontliners in our fight against human trafficking," Mangrobang said.
The overtime pay received by immigration officers has been paid by airline and shipping companies since the 1950s as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of its validity in September last year. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)