MALACAÑANG rejected Sunday the appeal of Miascor Aviation Services not to terminate its contract on behalf of its almost 4,000 regular employees who might be affected.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured that Miascor qualified personnel will be absorbed by other existing ground handlers.
"We are concerned with the workers but we cannot give their employer a concession on that basis alone, considering all the theft incidents by Miascor," he said in a statement.
"The fact is the jobs are there so these will be filled up either by new hires or qualified staff from Miascor," he stressed.
Miascor, in a statement last Friday, said it would formally issue an appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his position of terminating the contract with Miascor following a recent luggage theft incident at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
It has said that almost 4,000 regular employees and their families would be affected if Miascor's contract would be terminated.
But Roque said there was nothing to appeal as government has no existing contract with Miascor.
He said the Manila International Airport Authority's lease and concession agreement with Miascor has already expired.
"In light of the recent directive of the President, the position of the MIAA is not to renew the contract following the expiration because of many cases/instances of pilferage, both in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport," Roque said.
These include the theft committed to the wife of a Turkish diplomat and the alleged involvement of a Miascor supervisor with illegal drugs, he added.
"We look at the bigger picture: our national interest is of paramount importance. In particular, we need to protect airport travellers from baggage theft, especially overseas Filipino workers who work so hard to earn a living, and to make sure that potential tourists and investors are not turned off by such incidents at the airport," he said.
At the same time, Roque said the Palace does not see the need to form presidential action desks in the airports to address luggage pilferage.
"On the proposal to create presidential action desks in our airports, NAIA authorities have been proven effective in this regard. Our airport authorities have assured us that there will be no service disruption that will affect the travelling public," Roque said.
Last Thursday, Duterte personally apologized to Jovinal dela Cruz and Rosemary Versoza, overseas Filipinos who are alleged victims of the baggage pilferage incident in Clark airport. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)