Palace okays bonuses, pay hikes for CAAP workers
President Benigno S. Aquino III has heeded the May Day call of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines by approving the bonuses and salary increases granted to the CAAP employees which had been disallowed by the Commission on Audit.
Apart from averting a brain drain at the agency, Aquino’s action also spared CAAP employees from having to return between P800,000 and P1 million in performance incentives and salary increases each of them received since October 2012.
CAAP director-general William K. Hotchkiss III announced this development to the entire agency and was relayed by the 12 area managers during the flag raising ceremony.
Hotchkiss told the CAAP employees that he received a call from the President at 10:45 a.m. last Friday. Hotchkiss quoted Aquino as telling him: ‘‘General, as the President of the Philippines, I don’t usually make ex-post facto [with retroactive effect] decisions. However, I am making an exception in the case of CAAP. Please tell your men.”
Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Friday issued a memorandum to Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya and Cesar L. Villanueva, chairman of the Governance Commission on Government-owned and controlled corporations approving the benefits granted to CAAP personnel.
Ochoa’s memorandum indicated the approval of the year-end financial assistance pay granted in 2010; performance enhancement allowance in 2012; recognition award in 2013; achievement bonus in 2014; and new salary structure for technical positions, Oct. 1, 2012.”
On April 15, employees of the CAAP held a nationwide protest to dramatize their plight by unfurling black banners inscribed with the words—“Mayday! Mayday!”—a distress call for the President to step in and stop the impending brain drain at the agency.
The CAAP has around 3,500 regular workers, most of whom are technical personnel involved in air traffic management, who were instrumental in resolving the triple whammy of civil aviation: the country’s inclusion in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s list of countries with significant safety concerns; the European Union’s ban on Philippine carriers; and Philippine civil aviation’s downgrade by the Federal Aviation Administration to a category 2 rating.
CAAP was able to remove the Philippines from the ICAO list; lift the ban on the country’s air carriers on European skies; and restore the country’s FAA category 1 rating.
For these achievements, the CAAP board granted bonuses and salary increases to boost the workers’ morale and recognize their dedication and competence. But the Commission on Audit in June, 2015 issued a notice of suspension of salaries to technical personnel and disallowed bonuses given to all CAAP regular workers since October 1, 2012.