MANILA — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Friday bewailed the sad state of domestic air travel and maritime services that saw thousands of holiday travellers stranded at airports and seaports specially during Christmas holidays.
The Mindanao lawmaker said he would call for a Senate investigation into the state of the country’s domestic airline operations when Congress resumes this month to include an inquiry into ro-ro services.
Pimentel cited in particular the chaotic operations of a local airline that caught the ire of local and foreign travellers whose flights were delayed for hours or cancelled on last minute.
He also expressed alarm on the overbooking of shipping and bus firms servicing the roll-on-roll-off, Manila-to-Visayas routes as thousands of passengers failed to reach their destinations on time.
Pimentel asked the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to impose stiff sanctions against erring companies to protect the interest of the riding public.
”It is about time that laws governing the operations of airlines and shipping and bus companies are reviewed and updated so that they conform to international standards,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel specifically questioned the practice of outsourcing the ground services of airline companies which he said could unduly endanger the security and safety of passengers.
He said personnel handling the ground services of airline companies should be properly trained and strictly selected because they are handling highly sensitive flight operations.