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House panel OKs Air Passengers’ Bill Of Rights

MANILA, Philippines - The House committee on transportation approved yesterday the proposed “Airline Passenger Bill of Rights,” which seeks to provide relief and compensation for victims of delayed and cancelled flights.

The measure was approved despite the reservations raised by airline representatives and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Magdalo party-list Rep. Ashley Acedillo, one of the authors of the measure, said the committee passed the bill following the repeated incidents and persistent complaints against airlines from passengers offloaded, missing their flights or even suffering maltreatment.

“We simply could not ignore the mounting complaints of our airline passengers. Otherwise we, in Congress, would be called deaf to their clamor,” Acedillo said.

Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz said passengers should be given enough protection in light of the seeming neglect and abuses committed by the airline companies.

“We have to pass into law the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, but with the needed amendments to ensure balance and enforceability,” De la Cruz said.

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“There is also a need to review the rules and practices of the CAB (Civil Aeronautics Board) and the performance of its officials must be checked regularly,” he said.

The measure guarantees full reimbursement of ticket cost at original price if the flight was cancelled and should be done within five days either by cash, electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques.

If the passenger does not want reimbursement, he or she has the right to re-book the ticket without any additional fee.

The measure requires that airline companies should also endorse the passenger to another air carrier without added charge.

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