MANILA, Philippines – A senator has stressed the need to revisit Republic Act 776 or the Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines of 1952 to provide passengers adequate protection against erring airline companies.
Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and Entrepreneurship, said there is an urgent need to revisit the law because the situation is far different now compared to 63 years ago.
“With more Filipinos now who are capable to travel by air to reach to their destination, let’s introduce necessary revisions to the law to make it more responsive to today’s needs and enable it to give enough protection to passengers,” Aquino said.
Aquino stressed the need to review the provisions of RA 776 on Violations and Penalties, where any carrier or person who violates or fails to comply with any provision of the Act, or any of the terms, conditions or limitations in a permit or amendment thereto or any orders, rules or regulations issued by the CAB shall be subject to a fine not exceeding P5,000 for each violation.
“It is unacceptable that some of our countrymen were delayed or weren’t able to go home to be with their families and friends during the Christmas season,” Aquino said.
This age-old provision was used as basis by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in penalizing Cebu Pacific P52.1 million for delays and cancelled flights during the Christmas season. The fine was the largest ever imposed on an airline in Philippine aviation history.
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“We also need to look at how to properly compensate our passengers, may it be rebooking, refunding or other forms that will be commensurate of the inconvenience they experienced,” he added.
The CAB said Cebu Pacific violated its certificate of public convenience and necessity because of the delays and cancellations that affected 10,400 passengers from Dec. 23 to 26, 2014.
“This incident will become a regular occurrence if the current law lacks the needed punch against erring airline companies,” the senator said.
Aquino added that he would file a resolution on the proposed amendments to RA776 next week when the Senate session resumes.
“In the end, we would drive away air travelers, both foreign and local, if we make poor service the norm in our air transportation system,” the senator added.