Miascor employees ask President Duterte for ‘one more chance’

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Miascor employees hold a prayer rally on Feb. 25 and ask President Duterte to reconsider his decision not to renew Miascor's contract with the Manila International Airport Authority.

Employees of the Miascor Groundhandling Corp. (Miascor) held a prayer rally on Sunday afternoon to ask President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision terminate its contract with the government.

Ritchel Bernardo, Miascor training manager, said the President may have been “misinformed” by his subordinates when he decided not to renew Miascor’s contract due to alleged incidents of pilferage.

“We believed that President Duterte is misinformed by his trusted people,” Bernardo said during the rally at the Miascor compound near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Bernardo accused House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of “political maneuvering” and of being behind the decision of President Duterte to terminate the Miascor contract.

Bong Opon, an aircraft maintenance officer, said that “only six employees committed a mistake (of pilferage) but 4,000 have to suffer by losing their jobs.”

Around 1,000 Miascor employees joined the protests, with simultaneous rallies also being held in Cebu (participated by 500 employees), Davao (42 employees), and Manila (400 employees).

They asked Mr. Duterte to give them “one more chance” to work with Miascor not for their own benefit for the “future of their kids.”

Miascor earlier appealed to the President to reconsider his decision, adding that 4,000 of its employees would be affected by the company closure.

However, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque maintained that Miascor no longer had a contract with the MIAA.

“There is nothing to appeal as the government has no existing contract with Miascor Groundhandling Corporation. The Manila International Airport Authority’s lease and concession agreement contract with Miascor has already expired,” Roque said in a statement.

“We are concerned with the workers but we cannot give their employer a concession on that basis alone, considering all the theft incidents committed by Miascor personnel,” he added.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said that they were giving Miascor an extension of one month up to April 21 to vacate their premises. The contract between MIAA and Miascor expired on March 31, 2017.

MIAA did not renew the contract because of many instances of pilferage in NAIA and the Clark International Airport, including the theft of jewelry owned by the wife of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. A Miascor supervisor allegedly also got involved with illegal drugs.

President Duterte was particularly irritated when a Filipino migrant worker from Canada lost P82,000 worth of belongings at the Clark International Airport.

Miascor said that they paid the victim for the stolen items, fired the employees involved, and charged them in court.

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