MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the request of the Bureau of Customs for funds to hire additional Customs personnel for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“The budget is for additional plantilla positions,” said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
He said the hiring of additional Customs personnel at NAIA would help address the backlog of some 150 personnel at the airport.
Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon had requested for the additional funds to hire more people.
Purisima said additional Customs employees at the airport would also enable the agency to implement its 24/7 schedule.
He earlier ordered Customs officials to go on three shifts 24/7 instead of the outdated single-shift practice.
But Customs employees at the airports continue with the present set-up and instead charge their overtime pay from international airlines.
Furthermore, the Finance chief said government personnel should not be charging their overtime pay from international airlines.
International airlines have been complaining that they are forced to shoulder the overtime, meal and transport allowances of government employees working the night shift at the airport.
The Board of Airline Representatives (BAR), an organization of executives of international airlines doing business in the country, said it is the government that should finance these services and not the airlines.
The BAR, in a statement in March, said Customs employees have abused the overtime privilege by charging even their meal and transport allowances.
The group said some of its members received invoices for overtime services even from employees in early shifts.
The Bureau of Immigration under the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Quarantine and International Surveillance under the Department of Health will also be allowed to hire additional personnel for the airport.
Under global standards, representatives from customs, immigration and quarantine inspect all arriving airplanes, ships and cargoes.
Purisima believes the additional budget would improve the overall services in the country’s airports.