Over 14,000 employees of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) may lose their jobs as a result of the proposed rehabilitation of the airport.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) mentioned in a recent House plenary deliberations on the proposed 2021 national budget that NAIA employees may be dismissed under the government’s Rehabilitate, Operate and Transfer deal with construction firm Megawide Corp.
According to Nueva Ecija Representative Micaela Violago, who sponsored the proposal for a P143.110-billion 2021 budget for DOTr, NAIA employees would have to be terminated by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) but Megawide may opt to rehire them upon takeover of the NAIA operations.
Violago added: “They will be terminated and given separation pay. They could be rehired by Megawide.”
However, the DOTr pointed out that rehiring of terminated employees is not included in the proposed NAIA rehabilitation plan. The transportation department also admitted that the proposal was approved by the MIAA despite being opposed by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC).
DOTr also admitted that there were no stakeholders’ consultations conducted by the MIAA prior to the approval of the Megawide proposal despite being a requirement by the NEDA-ICC.
Furthermore, NAIA employees have not received any formal notice regarding their employment status under a new airport management. Currently, the NAIA workers are composed of at least 2,000 regular NAIA employees and 10,000 contractual or job order personnel.
Also, at least 2,000 people working for the NAIA’s private concessionaires and their employees will also be affected by the proposed rehabilitation and management change.
It should also be noted that terminal fees are expected to increase by 30% on the first year of NAIA’s operation following completion of the rehabilitation.
However, Transportation Undersecretary for planning and development Ruben Reinoso clarified: “There is no contract awarded yet or any agreement decided upon regarding the NAIA expansion project. The proposal is up for evaluation and approval by the NEDA Board.”