Press Release
April 21, 2016

To deter scams, 'presidential action center' needed in NAIA

The next administration should "plant a presidential action and complaint desk" at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as a "one-stop, on-the-spot troubleshooting center" for OFWs and other travellers, Sen. Ralph Recto said today after another case of tanim-bala was reported the other day.

"You put up a Malacañang-attached office there and it will lead to better service and passenger care. It will also be a deterrent against scams," Recto said.

With 36 million passengers using the four NAIA terminals annually, "it is a large constituency which can neither be ignored, nor denied of service, and one that deserves an office directly under the OP (Office of the President)," Recto said.

"Kung mayroon mang dapat itanim sa NAIA ngayon, 'yan marahil ang isang detachment nang pinakamataas na opisina ng bansa na tatanggap ng puna at papuri mula sa mga pasahero," Recto said.

Recto said there is an existing Palace office--the Presidential Action Center (PACE)--which has the mandate to establish an office such as "a detachment" at NAIA and other international airports.

In its Citizen's Charter, PACE describes "the OP (as in) the best position to serve as the command center" for requests for assistance and redress of grievances by the general public.

"Kaya kung command center pala, e di magtayo ang PACE ng extension office sa NAIA," Recto said.

PACE is the "key frontline team that can effectively bridge and ensure delivery of services to the general public," the agency claims in a statement linked to the OP website.

The low-key PACE holds office in one of the buildings near Malacañang, but Recto wants it to set up a satellite office in NAIA and "for it to anchor a one-stop public assistance kiosk manned by government agencies."

"The idea is to pool together all agencies which have something to do with OFWs and travel," Recto said.

"Puwede mong tawagin 'yang isang mini-national government center sa NAIA. It can also serve as a place where travellers can lodge complaints for bad service and give commendations for good ones," Recto said.

He said offices involved in OFWs affairs such as OWWA, DOLE, MARINA, POEA, Commission on Overseas Filipinos should join the PACE-run airport kiosk.

Other offices which must be there are the Commission on Human Rights and the Public Attorney's Office.

"So that when an OFW, for example, cries that a bullet has been planted in his luggage, there is an office he can seek assistance from," he said.

"O kung may minor na papunta sana sa Hong Kong Disneyland pero nakalimutan ang clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), doon mismo matutulungan ng naka-duty na taga-DSWD," he said.

"Kung nabiktima ka naman ng taxi na mabilis ang metro, doon mismo pwede kang mag-sampa ng reklamo," he said.

Recto said the maintenance of a "presidential action, assistance and complaints desk" is an honored and unbroken Malacañang tradition.

"Lahat nang naging presidente meron nito. Yung iba pa nga nagkaroon ng designated 'People's Day'", Recto said.

"If airport travellers can no longer come to Malacañang, then Malacañang must go to them," he said.

"Through its gates pass the OFWs who send back P1.3 trillion pesos annually. The presence of a Malacañang desk in NAIA is one way for the highest office in the land to tell OFWs that 'I have your back,'" he said.

Recto said such desk can serve as a "deterrent to the commission of scams and a reminder to render excellent service."

As to the funding of the "Malacañang detachment" in NAIA, Recto said it can be accommodated in the P2.5 billion budget of the OP for 2016. "It can also be drawn from the P4 billion Contingent Fund."

Government also collected P9.3 billion from NAIA passengers and airlines in 2014, netting P5.25 billion.

"NAIA is also a major collection point of the travel tax," Recto said.

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