Palace stresses mediation role in PAL management-pilots' row

August 3, 2010 11:03 am 

MANILA, Aug. 2 — Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Monday said Malacañang is aware that public interest is involved in the dispute between Philippine Airlines (PAL) and its pilots, hence, it has taken cognizance of the problem and ordered multi-agency mediation efforts.

Lacierda, however, clarified that the dispute is still at a point where it can be settled amicably without the need for laying out the basis of government intervention for reasons of national interest.

“Under the Labor Code, the secretary of labor can step into a particular controversy by way of national interest,” Lacierda said but stressed that the PAL-pilots’ row will be settled mutually.

In a Palace news briefing, Lacierda said the overriding concern of President Benigno S. Aquino III in ordering a meeting between PAL management and the pilots with facilitation by some Cabinet secretaries, is the interest of the riding public and some sectors of the economy who will be severely affected should the impasse continue.

At the memorial mass Sunday for the first death of anniversary of his mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino, President Aquino said he has ordered Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and the secretaries of Transportation and Communication, Labor and Employment and Justice to meet with PAL representatives to get to the bottom of the issue.

A number of PAL flights have been cancelled due to the dispute, which started when 25 pilots resigned because of higher paying jobs abroad.

In the last two days alone, PAL has cancelled regional and domestic flights following the resignation of 13 captains and 12 first officers to join airlines abroad that offered more lucrative deals.

The President reminded both the management of PAL and the pilots who resigned that they have an obligation to the public. (PNA)

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