Press Release
January 8, 2010


Senate Committee on Public Services Chairman Bong Revilla today strongly condemned the reported discriminating policy of airline company Cebu Pacific when it refused the entry onboard of a special child.

The lawmaker stressed that the treatment given by the Cebu Pacific to a special child is uncalled for considering that the airline company is a common carrier obliged to render public service. "Cebu Pacific boasts in its website that it has a compelling passion to treat all customers and each other with a true heart and soul for service. Ironically, they violated their own commitment to the public," Revilla said.

Based on news reports, airline personnel asked a mother and her son to disembark from the Cebu Pacific plane after learning that the latter is a special child, suffering from Global Development Delay, a condition that delays a child's ability to acquire motor skills as fast as normal kids. It was learned that the company's policy disallows two special children to be on board the same flight. Prior to the incident, a kid with Down Syndrome had already boarded the plane.

Revilla pointed out that Cebu Pacific's policy defied the Constitution which guarantees that the right to travel shall not be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health. "The condition of the child or having two special children onboard does not affect the security, safety or health of other passengers. What Cebu Pacific did is highly humiliating to the mother, much more to the child. It violated Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act," he said.

The senator further explained that under Section 2 of RA 7610, the government shall protect and rehabilitate children gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances which affect or will affect their survival and normal development and over which they have no control. He said Cebu Pacific must review and revise its company policy to avoid repetition of the incident. "Their policy might be a ground for the revocation of their franchise. No matter how affordable their rates are, they will still suffer low patronage because of their treatment of passengers," Revilla warned.

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