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Philippine Standard Time:
18 April 2024, 01:50 AM

Customs Breaks Impasse on Airport Overtime Pay Mess

April 20, 2010

The Bureau of Customs, with help from the Philippine Airlines, has finally been able to break the impasse on the pestering overtime pay mess at the country’s international airports.

The breakthrough came in the form of a P25 million check issued by PAL to take care of the partial claims of Customs personnel for their overtime pay which has not been paid since July last year.

The problem which was inherited by the present BOC leadership from the previous administration has become a cause for concern since the aggrieved employees have resorted to work slowdown to dramatize their demand for compensation. Some employees adopted a no-overtime policy and refused to serve passengers arriving at the country’s international airports after 5 p.m.

Said Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez: “Our patience in engaging our employees in a series of sincere and open dialogues coupled with our appeal for understanding and compassion directed at the airline companies made it possible for the tension between the two parties to subside and the inconvenience of airline passengers to be eased.”

The P25 million from PAL is enough to take care of five of the sixteen months overtime bills that the concerned customs employees have presented to the airlines.

Alvarez said the airlines have traditionally shouldered the extra pay of customs personnel and PAL’s decision is one major step in resolving this issue.

The controversy surrounding the overtime pay could be traced to Administrative Order 9-74 signed by former Finance Secretary Cesar Virata on July 30, 1974 which mandates all international airline operations at the MIA to shoulder the cost of overtime and other allowances due to customs personnel who rendered services to airline carriers in excess of the eight to five working hours.

The overtime pay has not been paid since July 2009 following a Court of Appeals ruling that it was illegal to compel the airlines to shoulder the cost of overtime.

Alvarez said PAL’s timely and positive intervention “gives rise to optimism that the other international airlines will follow suit.”

He added that he would personally visit the offices of these airlines in the next few days to persuade their officials to heed the request of the customs employees for payment of the balance of the latter’s 16-month billing.

To put an end to this nagging problem, Alvarez said the BOC would hire some 78 additional employees starting January 1 next year to come up with the ideal number of personnel who will work on three shifts.

Alvarez said the creation of the new positions would be a move in the right direction since it was only proper that government employees were compensated through regular budgetary allocation.

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