Lawmaker seeks probe of airlines’ promo practices

By: Cynthia D. Balana, April 22nd, 2012 03:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines—San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito has called for a congressional inquiry into the practices of domestic airlines that cause unnecessary inconvenience and discomfort to passengers.

In House Resolution No. 2131, Ejercito did not name the airlines but said that known local fliers were offering promo fares to encourage both domestic and foreign travel without realizing that they were going against the consumers’ interests, welfare and protection.

“There is an urgent need to look into and review the policies and practices of domestic airlines in accord with existing laws and state policies,” Ejercito said.

“The complaints include overbooking, denial of boarding pass, flight delays and cancellation, denial of proper accommodations during long flight delays and cancellation, surcharges for rebooking of flights, flight diversions and failure to inform passengers of the cause of delays and cancellations,” he said.

Ejercito cited a constitutional provision which says that the state shall protect the interests of consumers, promote their general welfare and establish standards of conduct for business and industry.

Likewise, he said, Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines provides that the state shall implement measures to protect consumers against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices.

Meanwhile, two other lawmakers have sought the designation of an Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) lane in the country’s international airports in anticipation of the huge number of church members who will be flying in from all over the world to attend the sect’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2014.

In HR 2163, Representatives Winnie Castelo and Jorge Banal of Quezon City asked the Bureau of Immigration to designate an INC centennial lane for “practical and courteous purposes” and not merely to give special treatment to church members.

“It will be in the best interest of the government to assign an INC Centennial Lane at customs which will allow Iglesia ni Cristo members continuous and smooth ingress,” Castelo said.

Banal said the purpose for which the church members would be visiting the country “presupposes the noble and legitimate intent of their entry.”

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