Travel agencies oppose plan to charge customs OT fees on airlines Featured

Travel agencies oppose plan to charge customs OT fees on airlines Photo: Inquirer Business
MANILA  -- Overtime fees of airport officers must be shouldered by the government and not the airlines.
This was the statement made by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) which protested the Customs Administrative Order (CAO) that will place funding for overtime fees of its airport officers to airline companies.
"If the Bureau of Customs 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," PTAA president Marlene Jante said in a statement.
Jante said that the act contradicts basic principles of labor laws, noting that there is no government in the world that orders international airlines to pay for overtime work of customs officials at airports.
She further said that airline responsibility “starts when passengers and cargoes are boarded and ends when they are disembarked.”
Former PTAA president Aileen Clemente, meanwhile, gave her support to the PTAA’s current stand, noting that it was “unacceptable” to only provide customs services 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," Clemente said.
Both Jante and Clemente said that the government must ensure that the BOC has internal funding for overtime fees of airport officers.
In 2012, the now defunct Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) eliminated the overtime fees and went with a 24/7 three-shift system at all international airports wherein the government fully financed the services of customs officials.
The system had a night differential pay for those working from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.
However, based on a copy of the draft CAO obtained by the PTAA, Customs Services shall not be less than eight hours work 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.
Under the General Provisions in Section 4, it stated that the BOC can charge Aircraft Supervision Fee of P30,000 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.
Services include tagging of ETA and 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.
It also is stated that all fees collected shall be placed in a trust fund and will be used for overtime fees and those for meal, transportation, and accommodation allowances for employees that needs to travel outside their worksite to render customs services. -- PNA
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