By: Tara Yap and FAL Angelo
IS THERE a conspiracy between the Iloilo airport management and a transport group to corner the transportation needs of tourists and visitors arriving via the new airport?
This question will be answered when officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Department of Tourism, New Iloilo Airport Transportation Association (NIATA) and Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP)-Iloilo meet today to resolve the alleged harassment of drivers hired to ferry doctor-delegates to a convention in Iloilo City last week.
Representatives from the Land Transportation Office (LTO-6), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-6), and the business sector will also attend the dialogue.
The meeting was called by DOT OIC-regional director Helen Catalbas following the complaint raised by Dr. Florentino Alerta of the PAFP-Iloilo.
Alerta, chairman of the transportation and accommodation committee of the PAFP midyear convention in Iloilo, said CAAP security personnel and some barkers at the airport harassed the drivers and PAFP staff who fetched some more than 1,000 delegates.
Alerta said the alleged harassment happened despite prior arrangements with CAAP and NIATA to allow the private vans hired by a convention sponsor to fetch the doctors.
Alerta said CAAP-Iloilo head Efren Nagrama told him to coordinate with NIATA even if the latter was designated Iloilo airport manager.
PAFP staff members who accompanied the vans were also harassed after their ID cards and other credentials were taken away by CAAP security and barkers.
NIATA president Perfecto Yap belied Alerta’s accusations even as he turned the tables on PAFP.
“They did not comply with the agreed terms,” Yap said.
Yap said the PAFP transportation and accommodation committee failed to submit to CAAP-Iloilo the agreed list of vans it hired to ferry the delegates.
Yap said Alerta agreed to submit the list of hired vans to CAAP-Iloilo’s Civil Security and Intelligence Unit (CSIU) for a smooth pickup and transportation of the delegates.
Yap added that the failure to submit the list was the reason that some of the van drivers were apprehended by CAAP personnel for lack of identification whether or not they were privately hired or colorums (illegal and unregistered van drivers and operators).
Yap said it is unfair for PAFP-Iloilo to be blaming it entirely on CAAP-Iloilo’s CSIU and accuse members of NIATA for the alleged harassment last week.