Duterte orders termination of MIASCOR contract after OFW lost his “pasalubong”

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte ordered airport and transport officials to clear the airport of theft victimizing passengers especially returning Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).

In a meeting with airport and transport officials in Malacañang Duterte Thursday afternoon, Duterte emphasized “Itong nangyari kahapon (This what happened yesterday), I would  demand that there will be justice instantly. Kung sino ‘yung provider, (whoever is the provider)  you terminate the contract and look for another one,”

Following the verbal order from Duterte,  
 the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Friday, January 19, 2017 terminated its contract with airport service provider MIASCOR Ground handling  Corporation following a luggage theft incident at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

Ed Monreal, MIAA General Manager in a letter addressed to MIASCOR President Fidel Harmon Reyes ordered the company to vacate the airport complex and its terminals within 60 days.

Monreal cited “Following the expiration of the Lease and Concession Agreement dated July 8, 2014 between the MIAA and MIASCOR last March 31, 2017, please be advised that the  Agreement shall no longer be renewed.”

Duterte who vowed to protect the OFWs was angered by the recent airport pilferage incident involving a returning OFW Jovinal dela Cruz.

Dela Cruz lost an estimated P84,000 worth of “Pasalubong” in the hands of MIASCOR employees at Clar Internatioanal Airport.

During the meeting, Duterte ordered “And so for the other airports in the country, I do not want it repeated ever again.”

Six employees of Miascor firm assigned at the Clark International Airport were terminated and are facing administrative charges due to the incident.

Duterte has apologized to the victim and ordered airport officials to punish those behind the looting.

“So I would also demand that the airport authorities should call the complainant and make amends, maybe in public to apologize for the sloppy job that we are doing. Matagal na kasi ito eh (this has been long enough),” he said.

Duterte met with Jovinal dela Cruz and Rosemarie Versoza and personally extended his apologies for their pilfered luggage assuring them that no similar incident would happen again.-Malacañang photo

“So I deeply apologize. We will pay whatever your losses,” he added.

In a statement, Miascor said it would issue an appeal to the President to reverse his decision, noting that thousands of jobs will be affected.

“We shall formally issue an appeal to the President to kindly reconsider his position on behalf of our almost 4,000 regular employees and their families who will be affected,” Miascor said.

MIASCOR was established in 1974 and is present in several key airports in the Philippines, including main gateway Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

Miascor added that it would “do everything it can to remedy the situation.”

“We would like to stress that we do not tolerate this type of behavior from any of our employees. Miascor is committed to conducting its business with the highest standards of compliance and ethics. And every employee is expected to demonstrate professionalism, honesty and integrity,” the statement showed.

Miascor also apologized anew to Jovenil Dela Cruz, who took to social media to report the theft of personal belongings inside his bags at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga

“Miascor management immediately reached out to him upon learning about this unfortunate incident and we have already reached an amicable settlement,” the statement showed.

Baggage safety and accountability

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered all employees with direct access to passenger baggage to wear body cameras.

Monreal said surveillance cameras will also be installed in areas where baggage and containers pass through between the plane and the airport.

The President threatened to fire airport officials if there would be another case of stolen luggage, as in the case of two returning overseas Filipinos at Clark International Airport.

MIASCOR currently services United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Jeju Airlines, Quantas and Cebu Pacific among others, Monreal said.

Problems of looting and pilferage has been a perennial problem not only at the aiports but also at the Philippine Postal Office.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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