Press Release
September 5, 2012


Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada filed a resolution to investigate the "unlawful and unreasonable" policy of discontinuing overtime (OT) pay of government employees assigned in international airports.

Proposed Senate Resolution 862 urges the Upper Chamber to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the termination of the charging and collection of overtime pay of customs, immigration and quarantine employees against airline companies.

The measure is co-authored by Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos.

"The policy disregards relevant provisions of the Philippine Immigration Act, Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, Quarantine Act of 2004 and Executive Order 292, as well as a Supreme Court decision," Sen. Estrada said in the resolution.

For instance, the Philippine Immigration Act provides that immigration employees may be assigned by the Commissioner to do overtime work at rates fixed by him when the service rendered is to be paid for by the shipping companies and airlines or other persons served.

On July 31, 2012, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima wrote a memorandum to President Aquino recommending the discontinuance of charging overtime pay by customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) employees against airline companies, claiming that such practice hurts the tourism industry.

In a separate letter, then Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas advised the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) and Airline Operators Council (AOC) to stop paying overtime pay to said government employees. The Cabinet Economic Cluster then adopted a policy of implementing 24/7 shifting schedule and that the government will fully finance the services rendered by the employees in international airports.

On the other hand, in a joint position paper the Bureau of Immigration employees lamented that the Aquino administration "unceremoniously blinks on social justice." It further said that the overtime pay received by immigration officers has been paid by airline and shipping companies since the 1950s.

The immigration employees also argued that the steady increase of tourist arrivals in the country as stated in PNoy's State of the Nation Address belies the statement of the Sec. Purisima that the practice is deterrence to the tourism industry. Moreover, the employees cited a Supreme Court ruling which "categorically precludes the government from shouldering the payment of overtime work, as in so doing the burden will be similarly shared by all taxpayers."

"It is important that fair and just employment compensation be carried out, with full observance of what is lawful and due our workers," Sen. Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development stressed.

The measure is referred to the Committees on Public Services and Finance.

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