DAVAO CITY – Members of the Makabayan bloc in Congress filed Wednesday a magna carta bill to penalize air carriers for violating passengers rights.
House Bill 5361 or the Magna Carta of Airline Passengers Act aims to “promote the welfare of airline passengers in the midst of the expanding commercial airline industry”.
The magna carta would create the Office of Aviation Arbiters “to do away with unduly long and costly court litigations so that passengers can have fast resolution of their complaints,” said Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares.
The bill’s Section 12 enumerates the rights of airline passengers as follows: full information, fair and reasonable air fare, receive the full value of the service purchased, protection against discrimination and unjust vexation, to be respected, to compensation; and to redress of grievances.
Colmenares said the magna carta “specifies compensation for death which is P3 million, and depending on the physical injuries ranging from P75,000 to P1 million, these amounts were set with consideration of international practice”.
“Also the compensation for lost, damaged or delayed baggage would be set with consideration of international practice,” he said.
“For lost baggage it is thrice the value of the baggage plus P20,000; for damaged baggage, twice its value; and for delayed baggage it is P10,000 /24 hour delay plus refund of baggage fee,” he said.
The passenger will also be given P50,000 for every violation of his right.
The payment, according to Colmenares, will be paid directly to the passenger.
“We hope that this bill will help prevent another horrendous scenario at our airports and that it would truly help our passengers,” Colmenares said.
The bill was authored by seven congressmen from the progressive partylists including Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Act Teachers and Kabataan.
Last month, carrier Cebu Pacific (Cebpac) had 20 canceled flights and 288 delayed flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 from December 24 to 26, prompting the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to impose a P5,000 fine for every affected passenger. The carrier has a total of 10,400 affected passengers during Ceb Pac’s operation or a total of P52 million pesos.
Colmenares said the bill “will prevent similar events” as one of the main content of House Bill 5361 is to “prohibit overbooking”.
One passenger from Davao City, Lorenz Licmoan said “overcrowded” counters in airports are her frequent dilemma in travelling.
“The issues depend on which airline I’m flying. If it is Cebu Pacific there are a lot of issues,” she told Davao Today.
Licmoan said the staff members are “harsh especially to people who they think they can easily bully”.
Licmoan said her flights are almost always delayed.
“Airlines in general do not inform you of your rights although they post it but who would have the time to read it through right?” she said.
Licmoan said it will be better if the passengers will be informed “personally” and the accountability of the air carrier is higher.
Kristone Baltazar, another airline passenger from Davao, welcomes the bill and suggested that the legislators include “passenger responsibilities as well”.
“So that it would be on paper, documented that if such an instance happens, I have a checklist as a passenger and I did everything right based on the Magna Carta,” Baltazar said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, said they are gathering support from their colleagues to support the passage of the said bill.
“We are still gathering and mustering the support of our colleagues. We hope that we can have it pass, if not during the regular session but hopefully during our 3rd and last regular session,” Zarate said. (davaotoday.com)