NEPA says open skies may lead to job loss
The National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA) said ia statement that open skies would be detrimental to Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.
The policy is an “ill-thought and badly-motivated executive order on open skies[that] shoots the lights out of Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific," said NEPA president Bayan de la Cruz.
The group is supporting the position of Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO of Cebu Air Inc. — the owner-operator of budget airline Cebu Pacific — that the policy lacks any consideration for the interest of local carriers.
"As correctly pointed out, Aquino’s executive order opens the country’s skies without any measure of reciprocal gesture from foreign countries," De la Cruz said.
What local airlines are seeking is equal, and not favorable, treatment, the NEPA president say, citing Gokongwei.
“NEPA, too, does not advocate protectionism if it means protection of monopolies like the Philippine Airlines during the Marcos years," De la Cruz said.
NEPA was established in 1934 to protect and promote local industries so they can compete both in the national international arena.
For competition to flourish, government must foster the atmosphere of a level playing field so that any airline can compete, de la Cruz said.
President Benigno Aquino III has signed Executive Orders 28 and 29, which essentially opens the country’s skies to more foreign carriers.
“We are not asking for special favors," Gokongwei recently said. “All we ask for is the opportunity to compete on a level-playing field. Let us have open skies for all, not open skies for foreign airlines and closed skies for Filipino carriers," he added. — VS, GMA News