Clark airport employees hold prayer rally amid privatization moves

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    CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga- Some 300 employees of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) marched to the passenger terminal here for a prayer vigil in a noontime rally last week amid plans to privatize the management of the airport.

    “We were assured by Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) president Vince Dizon that CIAC would be privatized and there are reports that Filinvest would take over,” said CIAC Employees Union president Manny Banez told Punto.

    Banez cited reports that Filinvest Development Corp. (Filinvest) of the Gotianun family is interested in the privatization move. The CIAC employees also sought the reinstatement of their retirement, insurance and health benefits which were suspended by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).

    In 2016, Filinvest inked a lease agreement with Clark Development Corp. (CDC) for the development of the Mimosa Leisure Estate here, during the term of Transportation Sec.

    Arthur Tugade who was then CDC president. The lease agreement has a term of 50 years and is renewable for another 25 years.

    While the CIAC is within the domain of the BCDA which owns the 2,500 hectares of airport aviation complex here, it is governed by the policy directions of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) which is now headed by Tugade.

    Banez noted that Filinvest did not retain old employees of Mimosa and hired new personnel, although the former employees were given full benefits.

    “When we met with the BCDA president in August last year, he told us definitely that privatization was where CIAC was going. Apart from that information, we have been kept in the dark apart from talks that Filinvest is likely to take over the management of CIAC,” he said.

    Banez said CIAC employees, numbering about 350, fear that they would lose their jobs as Mimosa workers did after Filinvest took over. “Besides, Clark airport is now earning. So why privatize it?” He asked.

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