Congressional probe on Cebu Pacific, CAB sought
MANILA, Philippines – Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares on Sunday, December 28, admonished his colleagues in the House of Representatives for failing to immediately act on an earlier motion to launch a congressional probe into the supposedly excessive fares, delays, and dismal services of local airline Cebu Pacific.
Following its disastrous flight cancellations during the peak Christmas season, the House senior deputy minority leader said there's no reason to delay the probe any further.
“I wished that Congress then already called for a probe but that did not happen, so I will file a resolution when Congress opens on January 5 for the probe to immediately take place,” said Colmenares in a statement issued Sunday.
Colmenares added: “It would be better if the Committee on Transportation would just call for a motu propio hearing to probe these issues during the break, but if not then, I hope that it would immediately be scheduled on the resumption of sessions so that these airlines would improve their services.”
Government aviation bodies will convene on Monday, December 29, to determine the possible liability of the budget carrier.
Colmenares recalled that he delivered a privilige speech before the House plenary precisely on the issue on December 16, shortly before Congress took a holiday break.
He wants punishment not only for Cebu Pacific, but also for the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the government agency regulating the airlines.
"While it is good that the CAB will already start their investigation to get to some of the details of the continued inconvenience of airline passengers, I think that the CAB should also be probed for not doing its duty to regulate these airlines and protect airline passengers," he said.
“CAB should not be allowed to escape accountability since dismal service has been going on for a long time,” he added.
List of complaints
Colmenares listed the following issues against the airline:
- Long queues
- Delayed flights
- Expensive rebooking fees and penalties, but when it is the airline that cancels or changes schedules there are no penalties or refunds for the passengers
- They offer a deceptively low initial base fare, but in the end the fare shoots up due to big tax and surcharges that are even higher than that of Philippine Airlines (PAL)
- 'Ridiculous' web administration fees
- Why passenger tubes are not used even if passengers pay for their use
Colmenares is not satisfied with Cebu Pacific giving the affected passengers options to refund or rebook their flights.
“Kulang ang refund na ito at paraan lang para patahimikin ang mga nagrereklamong pasahero. Ang dapat ay patawan ng parusa ang mga airlines na pumalpak (A refund is not enough to appease the aggrieved passengers. The erring airlines should be punished),” said Colmenares. – Rappler.com