The government has announced the “soft-opening” of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on December 15, 2002. This, despite findings by Sec. Gloria Tan Climaco and the Philippine Senate of severe flaws and onerous provisions in the Concession Agreement (CA) between the government and the Philippine InternationalAir Terminals Co. (PIATCO), Inc.-operator of Terminal 3 wholly owned by German and Filipino-Chinese businessmen. In addition, the construction has been replete with unabated corruption, the project cost ballooned from USD350 million in 1997 to USD500 million as of today owing to the reported overcharging and cost-over runs.
The Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Paliparan ng Pilipinas (SMPP) has totally denounced the agreement because the government would not only lose more than P1 billion annually for 25 years but 10,000 NAIA workers would be displaced as a result of the CA implementation. The construction of NAIA Terminal 3 is a clear example of the detrimental effects of the privatization program of the government where ownership and management of public services utilities would be transferred to private entities and/or foreign firms.
However, the most ravaging effects would be on the 10,000 workers now working at the NAIA Terminals 1 and 2. Section 3.02(b) of the CA stipulates that PIATCO’s terminal 3 shall “exclusively operate” the passenger terminal, thus, affecting passenger services of Terminals 1 and 2 leading to the grave displacement of its workers. Worse, Section 3.01(e) of the agreement stipulates the “no carry over clause” which, simply means that PIATCO would not recognize, among others, the existing employees contracts of the NAIA 1 and 2, thus, automatically making the employees jobless once PIATCO begins operations come December 2002.
The PIATCO controversy is a clear manifestation of the bankruptcy of the privatization program of the government. In pursuit of its blind adherence to the conditions set by its foreign bank creditors, the Philippine government has willfully neglected and abandoned its responsibility to the public. The government would not mind if it would lose billions of pesos in revenues and 10,000 NAIA workers and their families perish due to extreme hunger as long as big foreign and private capitalists would be pleased and contented with a very cooperative and all embracing Philippine government.
The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), SMPP, and the CONFEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT UNIONS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR call on the Arroyo government to rescind the contract, abandon its privatization thrust on one of the most profitable government service facility, takeover the operation of Terminal 3 from PIATCO and secure jobs instead of displacing the workers.
SAMAHANG MANGGAGAWA SA PALIPARAN NG PILIPINAS · CONFEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT UNIONS in the public sector · Alliance of Progressive Labor