HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday, February 14, scolded the president of flag carrier Cebu Pacific Air over alleged cost-cutting practices that have endangered passengers with disabilities, senior citizens and children.
Among these alleged practices is the non-use of the passenger boarding bridge.
During the hearing of the House transportation committee on Wednesday, Alvarez accused Cebu Pacific of putting higher priority on making profit than ensuring the convenience of its clients.
“I’ve seen it myself. May tube, hindi ninyo ginamit. Kawawa yung pasahero dala-dala yung anak. Umuulan, basang basa yung bata. Pinagalitan ko yung flight attendant. Sabi niya sir wala akong magagawa yun ang utos ng management, hindi gagamit ng tube,” Alvarez said.
“Pinapag-lakad nila yung mga pasahero, bababa-aakyat. So pano yung mga disabled, pano yung matatatanda, paano yung maysakit? Imbes na komportable sila na sumakay sa eroplano by using the tube—kasi diretso yan---bumababa pa. Tapos aakyat sila ulit. Eh tama ba yun? Ang concern lang nila is profit, dahil nga mura nga naman yung babayaran nila: parking fee lang, walang tacking fee,” Alvarez added.
Cebu Pacific President Lance Gokongwei, in response, said it is not the policy of Cebu Pacific to not use the passenger bridge.
He said the non-use of such will only be allowed if there is no availble passenger bridge. Gokongwei also said that the priority of Cebu Pacific is the safety and convenience of the passengers.
Alvarez refused to buy Gokongwei's explanation and said that the latter's claim is a "lie."
"That's a lie. Maybe if you're telling the truth you can start firing your operations manager," Alvarez said.
He noted that Cebu Pacific is the only airline which does not use a boarding bridge.
"PAL (Philippine Airlines) is not doing that, Air Asia is not doing that," said Alvarez.
Alvarez also accused Cebu Pacific of not providing refund for the payment of its passengers who failed to board its flights.
“Pag hindi nakasakay yung pasahero—subukan ninyo kahit kayo mismo—forfeited, wala na yung ibinayad mo. Wala na, walang refund yan, at saka pati yung terminal fee hindi na nila ibinabalik sa iyo," he said.
He chided the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Manila International Airport Authorty for allowing the practice of Cebu Pacific.
He stressed that the regulatory agencies should make sure that the airlines are prioritizing the safety and convenience of the public.
"Kailangan yung concern ng public, 'yan ang ipromote natin, hndi ang concern ng mga airline companies," Alvarez said. (SunStar Philippines)