Open Skies Policy opposed
By MARVYN N. BENANING
April 19, 2011, 11:02pm
MANILA, Philippines – 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 destroying the country’s flag carriers.
NEPA President Bayan de la Cruz described as “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 added that NEPA welcomes the position of Lance Gokongwei on the matter and scores the absence of any consideration for the interest of local carriers.
“As correctly pointed out, Aquino’s executive order opens the country’s skies without any measure of reciprocal gesture from foreign countries,” De la Cruz explained.
Established in 1934, NEPA had 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 sectors. 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 are seeking is equal, and not favorable, treatment. NEPA, too, does not advocate protectionism if it means protection of monopolies like the Philippine Airlines during the Marcos years,” he added.
“It must be pointed out, however, that 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 in the production, sales and rental of aircraft in this part of the world,” De la Cruz argued.
“Moreover, the US and French government extend strong support for their airline and aircraft business – 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 bewailed.
“We need more Gokongweis speaking out in behalf of Filipino businessmen and genuine Filipino interests. Most other business groups and businessmen sound and act like lobbyists for foreign interest. Kudos Lance!” he concluded.