CLARK FREEPORT- Amid an ongoing probe on alleged looted underground cables at the airport here, employees of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) held yesterday noon a protest motorcade to expose more alleged “widespread” anomalies in the government corporation in charge of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).
“We are not naming anybody as yet, but we want those responsible for the cable theft case pinned down,” said Marvin Pineda, president of the Samahang Manggagawa ng DMIA.
CIAC President-CEO Victor Jose Luciano took a leave of absence last Monday to allow an impartial probe of the alleged theft of cables at the runway and taxiway, after documents showed he issued handwritten letters permitting four suspects in the case to enter “high security” areas where the cables were later found missing.
A team of experts from the Office of Transportation and Safety (OTS) of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is now looking into the case.
But CIAC Vice President for Operations Rey Catacutan said Luciano arrived at his office at about 7:30 a.m. yesterday and held a closed door meeting with his “favorite managers” amid reports that employees were slated to hold a protest action at noon.
“It was an unethical thing. Out of delicadeza, he shouldn’t have done that because he is on official indefinite leave,” said Catacutan who assumed his post only three months ago.
Punto tried to get in touch with Luciano but was told by security men he had left. His cellphone had also been apparently shut off.
Pineda said that apart from the theft of cables, his group also denounced other alleged anomalies including delayed remittances to their Provident trust fund which is raised from contributions of both management and employees for loans and retirement needs.
He also said that despite vacant plantilla positions, the CIAC has been outsourcing manpower needs.
Placards during the noontime motorcade also denounced union busting within the CIAC as well as non-payment of benefits promised the employees a year ago under their Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Earlier, Catacutan held Luciano responsible in the theft of cables after the latter allegedly allowed four workers of the ACP Manpower, a private firm known to be engaged in dealing with scraps, access to “high security” areas of the aviation complex purportedly for “ground maintenance” operations.
The missing cables were estimated to be worth P2.,6 million.
Catacutan said the cables were supposed to act as back up for primary cables transmitting power to vital lights at the runway and taxiway.
But in an earlier interview, Luciano debunked this, and insisted that the missing cables connect only the electric posts at the aviation complex’s periphery. “They are old cables installed way back in 1995 and must have been stolen over these years, not just at one time,” he said.
The office of Luciano released a statement saying that the two departments “debunked claims that there were pilferages inside the Clark airport.”
“The alleged missing power cables are just remnants of the old power lines that were pilfered in the past,” the statement said.
“The safety and security of the Clark airport were not compromised,” CIAC Security Department Manager Jose Marlowe Pedregosa was quoted in the statement.
This, however, seemed to conflict with Pedrgosa’s earlier report seeking “legal action” against the four workers of ACP Manpower, and urging that the firm be made to restore the missing cables.