Overtime pay for airport personnel assured-A A +A
Thursday, September 13, 2012
THE government will pay for the overtime (OT) of Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) officers while it transitions to multiple shifts to provide 24/7 operations to airports, an official said on Thursday.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima clarified that customs, immigration and quarantine officers will be provided just and fair compensation for any overtime work they will render.
"There is absolutely no truth to the claim that we have removed overtime pay. We will continue to pay employees for the overtime work that will be done, but using government funds at government rates," the Finance chief said.
Before this new policy, CIQ officers would charge their overtime work to the airlines at rates higher than the government’s pay scheme. The old practice has become a major hindrance to expansion plans of different airlines. The Board of Airline Representatives has been advocating for a change in policy for several years.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said the practice of charging overtime work to airlines, which is not transparent and prone to abuse, "has become a major irritant for their operations, and is not helping our tourism campaign."
"We must remember that we are competing here with the other airports of the world. We must align our policies so that our airports make the Philippines a more competitive destination. CIQ operations are basic government services that government should provide at any time of the day," he said.
Industry players see this move as essential to making the country more tourist-friendly, and as a step towards increasing tourism arrivals in the country. The decades-old practice of charging airlines for CIQ overtime unfairly shifts the cost of performing these government services to private airlines.
"We hope to have in place a full 24/7 operation by the start of 2013, but while we are still increasing our manpower complement, we will pay employees for their overtime work with government funds at government rates. We cannot allow the growth of our tourism industry to be held back by a select few who have benefited from a long standing practice that has made the Philippines a less competitive destination," Purisima said.
The Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine bureaus, along with the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance, the Department of Justice, the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Department of Tourism and the airport authorities, are working together to further streamline operations in the country’s airports, he said.
"To reach our ambitious tourism targets, we must work together to make Philippine airports more fun," said Jimenez. (SDR/Sunnex)