AdDU boycotts Cebu Pacific as lawmaker calls for investigation

Jun. 03, 2013
Fr. Joel Tabora ( file photo by Medel V. Hernani)

Fr. Joel Tabora ( file photo by Medel V. Hernani)

Fr. Joel Tabora said the university has been a loyal customer to Cebu Pacific for many years.  But its “manifest human failure” on Sunday, he said, only proved that the airline company does not “deserve our patronage.”


DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Ateneo de Davao University President Joel Tabora has ordered Monday the termination of the university’s account to Cebu Pacific following an incident that “incensed” the Jesuit priest.

In a letter dated June 3 addressed to the airline’s management, Tabora said they are no longer purchasing tickets from Cebu Pacific in protest to its “insensitivity and ineptness” in dealing with passengers affected with the emergency Sunday evening.

Flight 5J 971 skidded off the uncemented portion of the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (FBIA) runway at about 7 PM Sunday.  It reportedly lost control after the runway light shut down while the aircraft was still negotiating the airstrip upon touch down.

Tabora said the engine caught visible fire before the plane came to a stop off runway.  He added the airline’s personnel “failed to give human assistance to the passengers” and that that there were no instructions given.

Cebu Pacific said in its official statement that a total of 165 passengers “have been safely shuttled to the airport terminal and their needs are being taken care of.”

But Tabora asked why the passengers were only allowed to leave the “smoked cabin” through emergency slides, 27 minutes after the incident.

“Twenty seven minutes however without appropriates communications is entirely too long!  What if the engine had exploded?  What if someone had choked due to the smoke?  What if there was an emergency medical situation on the plane?,” were the series of questions posted by Tabora in the letter.

Tabora said the university has been a loyal customer to Cebu Pacific for many years.  But its “manifest human failure” on Sunday, he said, only proved that the airline company does not “deserve our patronage.”

“Under these circumstances, we will generally recommend a boycott of Cebu Pacific.  You do not deserve customers,” Tabora said.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said the airline company must be investigated.

He said the incident “poses a serious threat to public safety” either it was caused by human error or mechanical failure.

Colmenares also urged Cebu Pacific to shoulder all the expenses and damages incurred of their passengers and those of other airlines who were stranded because of the incident.

The Civil Aviation Authority said the FBIA is scheduled to re-open at 8 PM Monday.  (

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  • ermie

    I am one of the passengers of Cebu-Pacific 5J 071 and I disagree to the comments of Fr. Tabora. To site my disagreements, let me tell you the story while on board the plane.

    One of the crews requested everyone to stay calm and observe the instructions for disembarkation. The pilot issued a brief statement on the status of the aircraft before deplaning. And one of the passengers who identified himself as a captain (military) helped in maintaining order inside the aircraft by giving priority deplaning for a pregnant passenger (which was not declared accordingly), passengers with children and elderly. The crew instructed everyone to leave their heavy carry-on baggages in their respective seats as these may destroy the inflated slider. Besides, the crew emphasized “safety first” for everyone. I salute the crews and the airport’s disaster and emergency unit who responded immediately by assisting everyone to deplane and providing umbrellas. Though it took two hours to get our personal hand carry and check-in baggages, it was worth the wait. After all, this is beyond compare of being alive. Some of the passengers have delayed reactions to the experience such that they lashed the Cebu Pacific ground crews of misinformation and to the extent of demanding media personnel to cover their complaints and some asked the passengers to file a class suit for the inconvenience (still to wait and see if this prospers) the incident caused.

    What was obvious here was that the airport lacked emergency buses or vehicles that would transport people from the accident site to the terminal. We were able to get out from the site by riding a 6-seater multi-cab to the airport’s arrival area, which went to and fro to ferry the 165 passengers. I also salute the Cebu Pacific and the airport’s porters who facilitated the downloading of the baggages from the plane. All in all, the Cebu Pacific tried to manage the situation the best way they can (I am not defending Cebu Pacific).

    On a personal note, I congratulate the passengers for showing their discipline responding to instructions, being so calm and patient during the ordeal. I jokingly asked my friends Gemma, Mavi and Mel, that no matter what happens, I would save my avocadoes taken all the way from my home in the rice terraces! No…just making everyone laugh in spite of being tensed. Thank God we are alive!

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