Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. today pushed for the review of the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights to protect passengers not only from the failings of airline companies but also from government’s shortcomings.
Marcos made the statement in the light of the mounting complaints of airline passengers including the five-hour power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that cancelled numerous flights and brought inconvenience to thousands of passengers and their families.
Marcos said reviewing and possibly amending the law that will empower passengers to seek immediate redress of grievances arising from neglect and abuses not only committed by airline companies but by the government itself are in order.
“Our passengers deserve better service and we simply could not ignore their many complaints in our airports like the long queues, leaking ceilings, collapsing floors, lack of restrooms and just recently a five-hour brownout. Clearly in all these, the reason why we have been consistently adjudged the World’s Worst Airport, the government is at fault but there is no accountability when our airport officials are clearly not doing their job,” he said.
He pointed out that the existing Airline Passenger Bill of Rights is under Joint Administrative Order No. 1 of the Department of Transportation and Communications and Department of Trade and Industry and it appears that it is only for lapses committed by airline companies.
Under the said order, in case of flight cancellations without fault on the passengers, airline travelers have the right to re-book their flight at no additional cost or demand a refund. The passenger also has the right to be given free food and hotel accommodation.
However, Marcos noted the said measure is not clear when the flight cancellation is due to government’s neglect like the brownout that was caused by the failure of airport officials to make sure generators are working.
“Clearly in the five-hour brownout episode, the airline companies were not at fault. Government was at fault. There were thousands who were inconvenienced. From whom are they going to seek relief? Who will pay for their cancelled flights? Who will answer for the additional costs they incurred as a result of the cancellation of their flights? These should be provided by law for the benefit of our passengers,” Marcos said.
He added, “(t)here should be accountability in passenger service especially in our airports because it is our window to the world. Government officials caught not doing their job should be immediately sacked and made accountable for their actions,” he said.