Sen. Aquino seeks review of law penalizing erring airline companies

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 14 (PNA) – Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Wednesday underscored the need to review Republic Act No. 776 or the Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines of 1952 to provide passengers adequate protection against erring airline companies.

“There is an urgent need to revisit this law because the situation is far different now compared to 63 years ago,” Aquino, chairman of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, said.

“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,” he stressed.

Aquino particularly mentioned the provisions of R.A. 776 on violations and penalties which provide a not exceeding PhP5,000 fine 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.

The same provision was used as basis by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in penalizing Cebu Pacific PhP52.1 million for delays and cancelled flights during the Christmas season, according to Aquino.

“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 stressed.

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 said that he will file a resolution on the proposed amendments to R.A. 776 when the Senate session resumes next week. (PNA)