By Raïssa Robles
Those businessmen, Filipino contract workers and other passengers who are angry due to canceled flights of Philippine Airlines should keep this in mind – that what they deem essential is only a rich man’s plaything.
I would not have believed I heard this from the mouth of PAL president Jaime Bautista himself if I had not taped it and replayed it five times in a row.
Bautista was interviewed on July 3, 2010 by Ted Failon on radio station DZMM. Bautista rattled off global industry figures to show why they could not afford to really raise salaries of pilots and rank and file. He said the whole industry lost US$11 billion in 2009.
This prompted Failon to ask Bautista:
Kung nalulugi airline industry, bakit dumadami ang mga airline (natin) ngayon. Bakit maraming gustong pumasok sa industry?” (If the airline industry is indeed losing, why do many want to join the industry?)
Itong airline industry, parang tinatawag natin na sexy industry. Ito po karamihan nag-iinvest dito mga bilyonaryo. Even sa ibang bansa. Sino bang nag-invest sa Virgin Air. Si Richard Branson na bilyonaryo.
Para nga pong may sinasabi yung mga taga airlines, ang airlines po ay parang toys for the big boys. Ito ay toys for the big boys dahil napaka-glamorous po ang pagiging may-ari ng mga airline. Pero karamihan dito nalulugi. Pero may pagkakataon naman po kumikita.
Here’s my rough translation of what he said:
The airline industry is what we would call a sexy industry. Most of the investors here are billionaires. Even in other countries. Who invested in Virgin Air? The billionaire, Richard Branson.
Industry insiders have this perception (that) airlines are like toys for the big boys. These are toys for the big boys because it’s very glamorous to own an airline. But most of the airlines are losing. But at times it earns.
He also said that PAL reported losses of around 600 million pesos for 2009.
Hmm. Ted Failon did not follow up by asking if PAL was Lucio Tan’s toy. But that would be a reasonable conclusion.
Hmm. Perhaps, to raise money, PAL can also start a new line of business by selling ALPAP pilot he-man dolls that zoom off into space when you whisper in its ear – AirPhil Express [which Lucio Tan also owns] – and beautiful FASAP flight attendant girls that get all wrinkly and gnarled after 40 days – which would be equivalent to 40 human years [the shelf-life of a flight attendant, according to PAL].
Just a suggestion.
Mr. Taylor Domingo says
Mr. Jaime Bautista needs to be held more accountable when dealing with his employees. Terminating his mechanics on the fly compromises the safety of his passengers. He comes across as sexist and should be censored by the international community. PAL has been black listed from flying to the UK because of its safety records and not meeting internationals protocols. Please do a google check to see for your self. PAL safety record is poor at best. There has been submitted video documentation one after another showing their video screens, speakers etc do not work when giving safety instructions before take off. There was recently an incident that started in Manila and ended at the SFO Airport around 7 months ago regarding a very serious safety issues and when passengers asked, they said it was nothing when in fact PAL lied to them. There is no doubt the United States Government has its ear to the wall when monitoring PAL and Mr. Bautista. Perhaps someday the United States may even prevent PAL from flying into the United States because of its safety record. PAL needs to be more transparent where its money goes because corruption has a way of back lashing and getting people into serious trouble. In the United States we have the freedom of speech and press, perhaps the beautiful people of the Philippines we be allowed their human and legal rights someday soon. Speak out your rights people dont be shy remember people power. Demand justice.
Mark Anthony Bolivar Andrade says
It is sad to say, but PAL’s outsourcing is necessary for the company to survive. . . I understand the needs of the retrenched PAL employees, however, they should understand the situation of PAL too. During the days when PAL is making money outsourcing was never a topic. . . If PAL does not outsource they might file bankruptcy in the next few years of operation and that would be the end of all PAL employees. . . In order to survive, all should share the pain of sacrifice, be it the company itself, the owners, the employees and the passengers. . .
The termination of employees (ground crew, mechanics, flight attendants, pilots) was not about termination. This was about destroying the ability of the employees to legally fight for their rights and demand a better working environment.
The unwitting (innocent, naive, desperate) employee would then apply in the so-called independent outsourcing companies and more or less (i think less), be back on track with their career, or so they think. When hired by the outsourcing agencies, they sign a contract with the agency, and with PAL.
Now, how would and agency thrive in this situation? Answer: by receiving a portion of the employees salary. So in essence, Lucio Tan is gets his money back one way or another.
With a union, the employees have a guaranteed CBA wherein they could ask the company for better benefits. With a contract, they are limited to what is stated or agreed on the contract.
Parang SM lang ba or the other employees of Le Bistro? after 6 months the employees are given a fail on their evaluation prompting them to reapplly and never receive their benefits…cost-cutting at its finest.
Rallie F. Cruz says
It is not only owning an airline industry that could fall under a big mans’ toy. Perhaps the biggest man’s toy is the oil industry where every member can always decide on how and when to make people panic.
Compared to OPEC, airline industry is just like their remote controlled flying object where and when they can always operate to fly while OPEC can make and unmake the world happy at the flick of their fingers. Ever wonder why an alternative energy solution cannot really take off successfully on its own to bring down the oil industry? Many of them are also within the alternative group to make sure it does not kill the oil production.
Going back to what PAL President said, maybe it is true because people who have all the means and power to decide what to do with his money are also the same people who plays in the stock market.
Peter Chua says
there is one thing that i don’t get about profit/loss for PAL. palea said that PAL should not terminate its employees because it made a profit last year.
using their logic, is it fair to say that PAL should have terminate its employees during the years that it made a net loss?
you can’t terminate employees in a good year yet you can’t also terminate employees in a bad year!