Nancy seeks compassion for 'special needs' passengers

Posted at 03/18/14 2:42 PM

MANILA - Sen. Nancy Binay on Tuesday urged transportation companies to be more compassionate to passengers with special needs.

This is following a report that a budget carrier off-loaded a 12-year-old child suffering from a congenital deformity over claims of a defective passport.

"Marami na po tayong naririnig at nababasang mga balita tungkol sa mga 'horror stories' ng mga pasahero, lalo na po yung may mga special needs," Binay said in a statement.

"Kaya umaapela po ako sa mga transportation companies-di lang po yung mga airlines-na irespeto ang mga karapatan at kapakanan ng mga pasahero nila," she added.

Cebu Pacific has come under fire after one of its ground staff refused to allow a 12-year-old child suffering from a congenital deformity to board his flight last Saturday. The Cebu Pacific ground staffer Mark Rotanel said the boy's passport was damaged.

The 12-year-old boy, who has pectus excavatum (Latin term for 'hollowed chest'), was set to be operated in Vietnam.

The Department of Foreign Affairs later said the boy's passport was not defective but decided to issue a temporary passport to the boy on Sunday.

The boy, his mother and grandmother were allowed to leave for Vietnam Sunday night, with Cebu Pacific waiving rebooking fees.

In a statement, Cebu Pacific said it regrets the inconvenience caused by the incident.

The Civil Aeronautics Board is also investigating whether the airline violated the Passenger Bill of Rights.

In her statement, Binay said the right to travel is enshrined in the Constitution. She said transportation companies-be it on land, sea and air-have an obligation to their passengers.

"Bilang serbisyo publiko, may obligasyon sila sa atin bilang mga pasahero na dalhin tayo sa ating mga destinasyon ng maayos at matiwasay," she said.