‘Open skies’ will ruin PH flag carriers: NEPA
Malaya Business Insight
The National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA) is backing the growing opposition to the open skies policy of the Aquino administration, saying it would only lead to destruction of the country’s flag carriers.
NEPA president Bayan de la Cruz says the President’s “ill-thought and badly motivated executive order on open skies shoots the lights out of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific.”
De la Cruz welcomed the opposition to the new policy, which had been advocated by Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim for decades and opposed by tourism industry leaders who want reciprocity.
He backed the position of Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific and scored the absence of any consideration for the interest of local carriers.
“As (Gokongwei) correctly pointed out, Aquino’s executive order opens the country’s skies without any … reciprocal gesture from foreign countries,” De la Cruz said.
Established in 1934, NEPA has long advocated the protection and promotion of local industries so that they can compete in the national economy and even venture internationally.
“Unfortunately, neo-liberal policies had already virtually wiped out the country’s industrial, manufacturing and agricultural sector. The Aquino administration’s open skies policy, among other ill-advised programs, will severely damage what remains of the service sector,” De la Cruz warned.
“Gokongwei stressed that what they (Cebu Pacific) are seeking is equal, and not favorable, treatment. NEPA, too, does not advocate protectionism,” he said.
If the government really wants competition, it must foster a level playing field where any airline can compete, De la Cruz said.
“However, a level playing field is illusory in the airline business if one takes into consideration that the United States (and France) have a virtual monopoly of the production, sale and rental of aircraft in this part of the world,” De la Cruz argued.
“Moreover, the US and French governments extend strong support for their airline and aircraft (manufacturing) businesses – cajoling and bullying other countries to expand their markets and maintain their duopoly. It is strange why the Aquino government acts with unctuous servility to US and French interests,” the NEPA leader lamented.
“The reality of globalization is an inescapable fact of our economic and business life. However, globalization does not mean the lack of protection of local industries. Up till now, the present administration has shown a remarkable penchant for promoting foreign interests to the detriment of our own,” De la Cruz said.