Press Release
October 30, 2015

Recto seeks Palace detachment in NAIA via 'presidential action desk'

Malacanang should "plant" a "presidential action and complaint desk" at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as a "one-stop, on-the-spot troubleshooting center" for OFWs and other travellers, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto proposed today.

"It can also serve as a place where travellers can lodge complaints for bad service and recommend commendations for good one," Recto said.

"Iyan siguro ang dapat itanim sa NAIA ngayon, isang sangay nang pinakamataas na opisina ng bansa na tatanggap ng puna at papuri na rin sa serbisyong kanilang natanggap," Recto said.

Recto identified an existing Palace office - the Presidential Action Center (PACE) - which could establish "a detachment" at NAIA and other international airports.

In its Citizen's Charter, PACE describes "the Office of the President (as in) the best position to serve as the command center" for requests for assistance and grievances by the general public.

PACE is the "key frontline team that can effectiveIy bridge and ensure delivery of services to the general public," the agency claims in a statement linked to the Office of the President website. The low-key PACE holds office in one of the buildings near Malacanang, but Recto wants it to set up a satellite office in NAIA and "for it to anchor a one-stop public assistance kiosk manned by government agencies."

"The idea is to pool together all agencies which have something to do with OFWs and travel," Recto said. "Pwede mong tawagin 'yang isang mini-national government center sa NAIA."

He said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) should join the PACE-run airport kiosk.

"So that when an OFW, for example, cries that a bullet has been planted in his luggage, there is an office he can seek assistance from," he said.

"Or kung may minor na papunta sana sa Hong Kong Disneyland pero nakalimutan ang clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), doon mismo matutulungan ng naka-duty na taga- DSWD," he said.

"Kung nabiktima ka naman ng taxi na mabilis ang metro, doon mismo pwede kang mag-sampa ng reklamo," he said.

Recto said the maintenance of a "presidential action, assistance and complaints desk" is an honored and unbroken Malacanang tradition.

"Lahat ng presidente meron nito. Yung iba pa nga nagkaroon ng designated 'People's Day'. Some opened the gates to Malacanang. Well, siguro pwede 'yon nung konti pa lang ang tao sa Manila, nung talahiban pa lang ang Makati, palayan pa lang ang Trinoma."

"But if airport travellers can no longer come to Malacanang, then Malacanang must go to them," he said.

With 32 million travellers using the four NAIA terminals annually, "it is a large constituency which can neither be ignored, nor denied of service," Recto said. "Through its portals pass the OFWs who send back P1.3 trillion pesos annually. The presence of a Malacanang desk in NAIA is one way for the highest office in the land to tell OFWs that I have your back," he said.

Recto said such desk can serve as a "deterrent to the commission of scams and a reminder to render excellent service."

As to the funding of the "Malacanang's detachment" in NAIA, Recto said it can be accommodated in the P2.8 billion proposed budget of the Office of the President for 2016. "It can also be drawn from the proposed P4 billion Contingent Fund."

"But why wait next year? It can be set up now using the funds for the current year. There's also the income of the Manila International Airport Authority. Two years ago, it was already grossing P8.7 billion yearly, and net profit before tax of P3.9 billion," Recto said.

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