Air traffic controllers eye work slowdown
- Rainier Allan Ronda () - January 9, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Air traffic controllers of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) are considering staging a work slowdown to express the rank-and-file employees’ frustration over the failure of the agency’s officials to release their 14th month bonus.

Cesar Lucero, vice president of the CAAP Employees Union, said they are demoralized because there is still no word from CAAP officials about the issue. He said a work slowdown may be averted if CAAP officials clear up the matter.

“The bonus should have been issued promptly to help the employees celebrate the Christmas season. It was extremely insensitive of management not to release the bonus,” he said.

The 14th month bonus is a “special benefit” the CAAP was allowed to give under the CAAP Law, he said. The law was passed in 2009 after the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) downgraded the country from a Category 1 rating to Category 2 in December 2007 and the International Civil Aviation Organization issued significant safety concerns on the country’s civil aviation systems in 2008.

Lucero said that the non-release of the 14th month bonus and the demoralization it has caused will negatively affect the agency’s ongoing efforts to regain Category 1 status, with the US FAA audit set on Jan. 27.

He said the union has received information that the delay in the release of the bonus was reportedly caused by a move by the agency’s top officials to include more than 120 consultants as recipients of the bonus.

However, the additional cost of including the CAAP consultants allegedly caused some questions in Malacañang. The CAAP reportedly shells P3.65 million for the monthly payroll of its consultants, he said.

Lucero said the 14th month bonus was given before Christmas break in 2009 and 2010, during the administrations of former CAAP director generals Ruben Ciron and Alfonso Cusi.

The union has been critical of alleged irregularities taking place in the CAAP under its current director general, retired Philippine Air Force colonel Ramon Gutierrez.

Lucero said that the CAAP was created out of its forerunner, the Air Transportation Office, and given fiscal autonomy precisely to allow the agency to keep most of its earnings and enable it to give adequate compensation and benefits to “mission-critical” employees such as air traffic controllers and other flight check pilots whose counterparts abroad are given higher pay for their skills and expertise.

AIR TRANSPORTATION OFFICE BONUS CAAP CESAR LUCERO CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES EMPLOYEES UNION INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION LUCERO PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE RAMON GUTIERREZ RUBEN CIRON AND ALFONSO CUSI
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