Travel agencies oppose plan to charge airlines for customs personnel OT
An association of travel agency operators is opposing the plan of the Bureau of Customs to charge the overtime fees of airport personnel to airlines.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) said the draft Customs Administrative Order (CAO) on customs service fees “contradicts the basic principles of labor laws.”
Section 3 of the draft order, which forms part of the implementing rules and regulations of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (Republic Act No. 10863), proposes that customs services will be rendered not less than eight hours per day for five days a week, exclusive of lunch time – or from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – except Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the PTAA noted.
Also, Section 4 of the draft order sought a P30,000 aircraft supervision fee that the BOC can charge from airlines or their agents “for every aircraft engaged in foreign commerce that landed and departed from an international airport of entry and where customs services are rendered,” the PTAA added.
“Under the provision, services included tagging of estimated time of arrival (ETA) and actual time of arrival (ATA), issuance of entrance and clearance permits, conducting of boarding formalities, supervision of the loading and unloading of cargoes, underguarding of cargoes and aircrafts, clearance of passengers and baggage, storage and release of held baggage, and other related services,” the PTAA said.
“Overtime pay for customs officials must be shouldered by the government and not the airlines,” PTAA President Marlene Jante said.
“If the BOC wants to implement an overtime system instead of the 24/7 shifting schedule that was specified under CAO 7-2011, then airlines under any circumstances should not be ordered to provide service fees, dues, and other charges,” Jante added.
In 2012, the then Department of Transportation and Communications removed overtime fees and implemented a 24/7, three-shift system in all international airports, which provided for a night-differential pay for personal on duty from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“There is no government in the world that orders international airlines to pay for overtime work of customs officials at airports,” Jante said. “Airline responsibility starts when passengers and cargoes are boarded and ends when they are disembarked.”
Former PTAA President Aileen Clemente also disagreed with the draft order, saying: “It is completely unacceptable for the government, especially in a globalized economy, to only provide customs service’s during working hours. It is not right for tourists, investors, and Filipinos coming back into the country to not be cleared by the BOC for entry unless the airlines pay for it.” /atm
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