Julie Javellana-Santos, Special to Arab News
Friday 6 June 2003
Last Update 6 June 2003 12:00 am
MANILA, 6 June 2003 -- A suggestion to let Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) buy Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila is gaining ground not only among migrant workers but also among legislators.
Among the first to endorse the idea was Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., who even suggested that a trust fund be opened with a local bank so that OFWs can begin remitting the funds necessary for the purchase.
Other legislators said to be looking into the suggestion made by Mike Bolos, a senior accountant with a health care company in Riyadh.
Bolos said yesterday that if the government guarantees that Terminal 3 will be sold to the OFWs, tens of thousands would participate in the project.
''The OFWs will not give up their money unless they know its for Terminal 3 of NAIA,'' Bolos told Arab News.
He originally said that because the Philippine government is short of funds, Arroyo might as well tap OFWs to help pay the expenses of the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. or Piatco.
Bolos made the proposal after the Supreme Court voided all of the government's contracts with the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. or Piatco, maker of Terminal 3 of the NAIA.
The Supreme Court said Piatco?s contract with the government was illegal as onerous provisions were inserted in the deal after it was signed. The court decision stemmed from petitions filed by the MIAA Association of Service Operators, several labor unions representing employees at the two NAIA terminals, and three congressmen.
They said Piatco's deal with the government was unconstitutional and disadvantageous to the government and the airport workers. ''The Supreme Court's decision nullifying the concession agreements the government signed with Piatco in 1997 provides a golden opportunity for the government to do something very significant for the OFWs,'' Bolos said in a proposal being circulated over the Internet.