Home » Customs & Trade » International passengers may pick up tab for Customs OT pay

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) is proposing to pass on to departing international passengers the cost of its airport personnel’s overtime pay.

Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez said the agency has no recourse but to pass on the fee to passengers since airlines won’t pay after securing an earlier favorable decision from the Court of Appeals, and government is unlikely to shoulder the extra cost either.

Alvarez said the BOC is looking at including the extra cost in the airport terminal fee or creating a separate fee altogether.

At the moment, airport authorities charge a P750 departure fee and travel tax of P1,620 for every overseas-bound passenger.

“Under our proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU), instead of the airlines paying for the overtime of Customs personnel, the passengers would have to shoulder the cost,” Alvarez said.

He explained Customs agents have not been paid overtime since July 2009 and they have since threatened to abandon their posts after their eight-hour shift.

In the meantime, Alvarez said the BOC has secured a commitment from airlines to pay five months’ worth of overtime and allowances of Customs personnel.

Government, he added, cannot afford to lose employees with higher passenger traffic expected with the holidays around the bend.

The BOC will present the draft MOU to representatives of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Bureau of Immigration and Bureau of Quarantine for comment.

Stepped-up security

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police intensified its monitoring of the country’s major international airports following discovery over the weekend of explosive materials in express cargo packages headed for the United States.

PNP director general Raul Bacalzo said he has ordered the police intelligence division to step up efforts to monitor and thwart terror attacks, particularly in places of public convergence such as airports, sea ports, and malls.

Bacalzo also ordered the Aviation Security Group to strictly inspect all packages at the airport. “Although there is no threat here, we do not want to take our chances,” Bacalzo said.

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