Its good to hear that the government has decided to end this very strange arrangement which could be considered a PPP (Public Private Partnership) of sorts but with a particular group of government employees in providing them compensation for their services.
From BusinessWorld Philippines
September 13, 2012
Gov’t to pay overtime work
THE GOVERNMENT will pay for the overtime work of Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) employees as they transition to a new scheme of multiple shifts to provide round-the-clock operations in airports and ports.
Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima debunked claims made by the Bureau of Customs Employees Association (BoCEA) last week that the government had scrapped their overtime pay, branding it an act of “fiscal mismanagement,” “a mischanneling of funds” and overall, a “corrupt practice.”
“There is absolutely no truth to the claim that we have removed overtime pay. We will continue to pay employees for the overtime work that will be done, but using government funds at government rates,” Mr. Purisima said in a statement yesterday.
Before this new policy, CIQ officers charged their overtime work to the airlines and shipping lines — even at rates higher than the government’s pay scheme, he explained. This became a major issue for carriers, even acting as an obstacle to their expansion plans because it pushed up their cost of business in the Philippines.
The Board of Airline Representatives — the group of foreign airlines operating in the country — has been advocating for a change in policy for several years.
Airlines and shipping lines have historically paid for the overtime work of CIQ employees since they are needed 24/7 in airports and ports to load, unload and handle cargo. However, when overtime rates rose in 2005, the private sector balked at the costs and since then refused to pay.
The issue was resolved last August as the government issued Customs Administrative Order No. 7-2011, prescribing a new scheme of shifts so that there would be personnel manning ports and airports 24/7, without the need for overtime work.
The first shift will be from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., while the second shift will be from 3:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. The last shift will be from 11:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. All shifts come with a one-hour break.
The new scheme scrapped overtime pay. However, a night-time differential pay was offered to those working from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. of the following day.
“We hope to have in place full 24/7 operations by the start of 2013, but while we are still increasing our manpower complement, we will pay employees for their overtime work with government funds at government rates,” Mr. Purisima said.
For his part, Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. also backed the policy, especially as the Philippines is working to make tourism a pillar of economic growth under the Aquino administration.
“The practice of charging overtime work to airlines, which is not transparent and prone to abuse, has become a major irritant for their operations… CIQ operations are basic government services that government should provide at any time of the day,” Mr. Jimenez said in the same statement. — Diane Claire J. Jiao