..President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III jabbed at customs and immigration workers in a speech Tuesday, as he stood his ground that their overtime pay should not be charged against airlines operators.
After outlining the Bureau of Immigration's accomplishments during the agency's 72nd founding anniversary celebration, Aquino said: "Narito na rin po tayo, pag-usapan na rin natin ang tungkol sa inyong overtime pay (Since we're at it, let's talk about your overtime pay)."
The premium should not be an "additional burden" to airlines and private firms, the President said, noting that the industry needs public sector support to boost tourism.
"Tandaan lang po natin: bawat isang turista raw na makapasok sa Pilipinas nakakadagdag ng isang trabaho para sa kapwa Pilipino (Let us keep in mind that one more Filipino gets a job for every additional tourist)," Aquino said.
The Palace in August said the government will fully finance services rendered by customs and immigration employees in international airports, relieving private operators of the burden.
The government further adopted a round-the-clock shifting schedule for workers to avoid paying overtime fees.
While hitting complaints against the new policy, Aquino stressed the need to "set aside personal interests for the common good."
"Hindi po sapat na katwiran ang sabihing dati na itong kalakaran; hindi natin maitutuwid ang baluktot na sistema, kung ang itutugon natin ay 'ito kasi ang nakasanayan,' (It's not enough to argue that this is the rule of the trade; we cannot iron out the crooked system by responding 'we have grown used to this)," Aquino said.
This, even as he assured immigration employees that they will receive the salary that is due them.
Meanwhile, a resolution seeking a probe on the new government policy is pending before the Senate commmittee on public services and finance.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito, who authored the resolution with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. called the move "unlawful and unreasonable."
"The policy disregards relevant provisions of the Philippine Immigration Act, Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, Quarantine Act of 2004 and Executive Order 292, as well as a Supreme Court decision," Estrada said in a statement.