The â€œMayday Maydayâ€ banners hanging at control towers at airports in different parts of the country, including Tagbilaran Airport, on Friday drew positive response for the call to counter the nixing of the incentives and salary increase given to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) employees.
In a symbolic way, CAAP Employees Union (CAAPEU) hung the black banner printed â€œMayday Maydayâ€ to utter a call for President Benigno Aquino III to intervene after the Commission on Audit (COA) â€œissued a Notice of Suspension of Salaries to technical personnel and Disallowances of Bonusesâ€ through an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) dated June 1, 2015.
People on planes, ships, and radio operators use â€œMaydayâ€ to â€œsignal life-threatening emergencyâ€ and is now the â€œinternational distress signalâ€.
The use of â€œMayday Maydayâ€ in the black banners literally solicits help from the President to use his â€œExecutive Powerâ€.
InÂ the official statement of CAAPEU furnished toÂ the ChronicleÂ on Friday, â€œCAAP employees nationwide are sending out a Distress CALL to the President of the Republic of the Philippinesâ€.
It also carries the threat theÂ â€œstronger forms of mass actionâ€ might result from â€œfurther inaction from the Presidentâ€ or it â€œmay trigger resignation of a significant number of CAAP employeesâ€.
The CAAPEU stated that â€œthese scenarios can be avoided but our hands are tiedâ€.
â€œCOA, GCG and even Congress have their hands down and are unanimous in their recommendation that there is no other way but through the Executive Power of the President,â€ according to CAAPEU in the official statement.
The salary increase of technical employees was based on the CAAP Board Resolution 2012 – 053 as a way to â€œresolve one of ICAO’s significant findings, that is CAAP’s inability to recruit and sustain competent technical personnelâ€.
The CAAP Resolution anchored on Section 18 of R.A9497 which provides that â€˜the Board shall determine the new schedule of salaries of the employees of the Authority subject to the compliance with the existing compensation laws: Provided that the Board shall determine and fix the compensation and fringe benefits of employees holding technical positions that are not common to other agencies of the government which shall be specified in the I.R.R.â€™
The employees union also cited that CAAP managed to â€œattract and hire capable individuals when salaries were set competitively against private entitiesâ€.
It also â€œlessened the number of employees leaving the countryâ€, according to CAAPEU.
â€œThe remarkable effects were the accomplishment of the marching orders of the President: removal of the significant safety concerns of the ICAO, lifting of the European Union’s ban on Philippine carriers, and reinstatement of Philippines Civil Aviation to Category 1 by the FAA,â€ CAAPEU added.
On this, â€œthe CAAP Board granted bonuses to boost the employees’ morale, provide recognition to the dedication, competence and noteworthy performance of the officials and employees, and to motivate the workforce to perform better for the attainment of the objectives of CAAPâ€.
CAAPEU also cited a commendation from House of Representatives expressed through a Resolution dated June 2, 2014 â€œto acknowledge CAAP’s effortsâ€.
â€œThe Resolution stated: â€˜…That this commendation may serve as guide for the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and – Controlled Corporations (GCG) in recommending to the Office of the President the incentives may deem necessary and commensurate in consideration of the good performance of the CAAP under the Republic Act No. 10149â€™ which inspired CAAPEU.
â€œFurther, the President made mention in two of his State of the Nation Addresses the relevant contribution of CAAP which paved the way for the progress of our country’s civil aviation industry with far reaching impact on the growth of our economy through the promotion of an assured safe air travel,â€ according to CAAPEU.
However,Â COA issued an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) dated June 1, 2015 recommending that â€œManagement should secure the approval of the President through the GCG, for new Salary Structure adopted for technical position to support the payments effective October 1, 2012â€.
CAAPEU lamented that GCG could not support norÂ favorably recommend to the President, their request â€œfor thepost factoÂ approval of the foregoing benefits that CAAP has already granted to its officials and employeesâ€.
â€œAs a result, a regular technical employee, is bound to return an amount ranging from P800,000 to P1 million and increasing as the issue remains unresolved,â€ according to CAAPEU.
â€œThe CAAP Management then sought the indulgence of the Congressional Oversight Committee on CAAP. The Committee advised the CAAP Management to elevate this to the CAAP Board. At present, the Board is seeking audience with the President,â€ according to CAAPEU.
A source from CAAP-Tagbilaran yesterday toldÂ the ChronicleÂ that so far, their call is heading for a positive result and, in fact, their national leaders already instructed provincial counterparts to fold down the black banner as of Friday afternoon.
CAAPEU explained that they resorted to the peaceful expression of their request because the group had already â€œrun out of options and is left with only one lifeline – the approval of the President on CAAP’s present Salary Structure and Bonusesâ€.
The CAAPEU also said they â€œpassed through the rigorous bureaucratic process and protocols, notwithstanding the silent protest that have been ongoing for the past monthsâ€. But their call seemed to fail to get the attention of government officials who could have addressed it.
After displaying the black banner of â€œMayday Maydayâ€ yesterday, CAAP-Tagbilaran employees said that finally found hope that the national administration will heed their call.