TRAVEL, CARGO GROUPS WANT LOPSIDED ORDER AMENDED

Davao City, May 11, 2003   Scrap Executive Order 32!

This was the clamor of at least five organizations directly involved in the 
aviation and tourism industries, as they also questioned how former 
Transportation and Communications Secretary Pantaleon Alvarez was able to 
convince or make President Arroyo sign the executive order on Aug. 22, 2001.

Robert Lim Joseph, president of Save Our Skies movement, said the executive 
order is detrimental to the country's interests in international air 
agreements.

Incidentally, three days after President Arroyo had signed the EO, Alvarez 
was already in Singapore as Philippine representative to sign a "lopsided" 
agreement allowing Singapore carriers to have more flights to Manila, 
Joseph claimed.

SOS is the umbrella organization headed by presidents of these 
organizations  National Association of Independent Travel Agencies, Air 
Cargo Forwarders Association of the Philippines, Air Safety Foundation of 
the Philippines, and the Travel Cooperative of the Philippines. It has been 
very vocal against the implementation of the open skies policy with foreign 
governments in order to protect all local carriers and all airline-related 
businesses.

"We want President Arroyo to review and then at least amend EO 32," Joseph 
said in a press conference here, 55 kms away from Tagum City, Davao del 
Norte, hometown of Alvarez.

EO 32 amended EP 219 dated Jan. 3, 1995 signed by then President Fidel 
Ramos, SOS is against it for two reasons.

First is the change in the composition of representatives tasked to 
negotiate for the Philippine government "to ensure harmony and consistency 
in the official position of the Philippines" in all air service agreements 
or similar arrangements. Second is the outright disregard of the 
stakeholders coming from the sectors that will be affected once air pacts 
between the Philippines and other countries have been signed.

Joseph said: "This EO signed on Aug. 22, 2001 changes the composition of 
the negotiating panel whereby the DoTC secretary signs bilateral contracts 
with other foreign governments, which should be done as it is normally done 
by the Department of Foreign Affairs."

With the change in composition of the negotiating panel, it is now the DoTC 
secretary who signs for the Philippine government as the EO has designated 
him the chairman of the negotiating panel. The DFA has been relegated to 
vice-chairman while representatives from the Department of Tourism, 
Department of Trade and Industry, and Civil Aeronautics Board are members.

Joseph said the agencies involved in the negotiations were left in the 
dark: "Later on, the DFA found out that it did not know what was going on. 
Under the DoTC is the CAB which also did not know what was going on."

Joseph said stakeholders in the aviation industry must also be included in 
the negotiating panel because these are the people who know what is best 
for them, for the industry, and for the country.

"We are appealing that this EO 32 should at least be amended. They have to 
put the DFA to negotiate international, bilateral treaties. Those affected 
should be part of the negotiations because they are to protect what's for 
us Filipinos. We are not here for monopolies but for fairness," Joseph 
said. (Star)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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