Home » 3PL/4PL, Ports/Terminals » Miascor seeks to compel Cebu airport operator to honor contract of award for ground-handling services

Miascor Groundhandling Corporation recently filed an injunction against Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) operator GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) that would compel it to honor a ground-handling services contract.

The injunction involves the letter of award Miascor said it received from GMCAC on January 12 as acceptance for Miascor’s bid proposal to develop, operate, and maintain ground-handling facilities, as well as provide services at MCIA.

The seven-year contract was supposed to take effect on July 1, 2018 but GMCAC on February 12 sent a letter to Miascor cancelling the contract of award.

GMCAC also ordered Miascor to vacate spaces it occupies in MCIA by May 24.

“It is unfortunate that we must take this action, but we are doing so for the welfare of our almost 600 hundred employees who will be affected,” Miascor general manager for Visayas and Mindanao Atty. Earl Versoza said in a statement.

“And contrary to claims by GMCAC, a contract between the two parties has been perfected as evidenced by the Letter of Award,” Versoza added. Miascor said it received the letter last January.

The company added it had already complied with all the conditions within the specified period as stated in the letter of award, and had, in fact, purchased hundreds of millions of pesos worth of brand-new equipment to meet its obligations.

GMCAC in a statement last month said there was nothing to honor as no contract of award had been issued yet.

Two grounds for award cancellation

The airport operator cited two grounds for deciding not to award the contract to Miascor.

One is the February 15 directive sent to GMCAC by the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) prohibiting the award of ground-handling contracts to Miascor following a baggage pilferage case at the Clark International Airport (CRK) involving Miascor’s workers.

The pilferage case reached the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte, who ordered Miascor’s contract cancelled. As a result, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) did not renew Miascor’s contract, while Clark International Airport Corporation terminated the ground handler’s contract that was supposed to expire in 2024.

The other reason, GMCAC said, is Miascor’s alleged failure to disclose 18 of the 26 cases of pilferage involving its workers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which GMCAC said is “material information critical in assessing Miascor’s capacity.”

Miascor, however, pointed out that “there is also no truth to the claim that Miascor is responsible for 18 out of the 33 alleged pilferage cases during the past two years as reported by the Manila International Airport Authority.”

“We have already written MIAA a letter requesting them to share their findings but we have yet to get a response. Based on our records, only two pilferage cases can be attributed to Miascor and the company acted quickly, together with the airport authorities, to address the situation,” Versoza said.

Miascor said it has “demonstrated exemplary performance in Cebu for the past 27 years with no recorded cases of pilferage.”

“And as testament to its service excellence, it currently handles over 70% of MCIAA’s groundhandling operations,” it added.

Pilferage at Clark

The non-renewal and termination of Miascor’s contracts stemmed from an incident of baggage pilferage involving six of the ground-handling service provider’s employees at CRK that prompted Duterte to order the termination of Miascor’s service contract.

Overseas Filipino worker Jovinal Dela Cruz had arrived on December 23, 2017 at CRK while his baggage followed the day after. In a Facebook post in the second week of the same month that caught netizens’ attention, Dela Cruz complained that his baggage had been looted.

On January 10, Miascor compensated Dela Cruz for his loss in the amount of P82,824.

CIAC and Miascor then held an investigation and on January 13 this year terminated the services of the six passenger service agents who admitted to pilfering the baggage of Dela Cruz.

CIAC on January 13 also filed criminal charges of theft against the six Miascor employees. Miascor also filed separate charges of qualified theft against the suspects.

Aside from ground handling, Miascor’s services also include cargo handling and warehousing, catering, airport lounge, training, general sales agency, manpower deployment, ULD (unit load devices) maintenance, and into-plane refuelling. It also has operations in Davao and Kalibo, Aklan.

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