Ateneo de Davao President: Boycott Cebu Pacific for its “insensitivity and ineptness”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 June) – The President of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) has recommended a boycott of  Cebu Pacific in protest of its “insensitivity and ineptness” when it “ignored and negected” passengers Sunday night after an aircraft from Manila veered off the runway upon landing.

The plane had 165 passengers on board.

In a letter addressed to the Cebu Pacific management and posted on the university’s Twitter account,  Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, said ADDU, a loyal customer of Cebu Pacific for years, will no longer purchase tickets from the airline company because what happened Sunday night “proved you do not deserve our patronage.”

Tabora said Cebu Pacific personnel “failed to give humane assistance to the passengers.”

DOUBLE TIME Workers use crane on Monday night to lift the plane's nose to be able to tow it out of the Davao International Airport's runway. The Cebu Pacific Air flight 5J-5971 veered of the runway on Sunday night. Mindanews Photo by Ruby Thursday More
DOUBLE TIME Workers use crane on Monday night to lift the plane’s nose to be able to tow it out of the Davao International Airport’s runway. The Cebu Pacific Air flight 5J-5971 veered of the runway on Sunday night. Mindanews Photo by Ruby Thursday More

“No instructions were given, no calming words spoken. Instead,  a pilot of another airline undertook to calm passnegers,” he said.

He wrote he is “incensed” not because of the mechanical failure  but because of Cebu Pacific’s “manifest human failure.”

He said the passengers were allowed to leave the plane only after “27 minutes in a smoked cabin,” without appropriate communications is “entirely too long.”

“What if the engine  had exploded? What if someone had choked due to the smoke? What if there was an emergency medical situation?”

Tabora said the airline’s personnel lacked training on dealing with emergency situations.

He said the airline is endangering the lives of people by putting untrained people to deal with emergencies.

“Under these circumstances, we will generally recommend a boycott. You do not deserve customers,” he wrote.

Businessman John Gaisano, who was seated on 15B,  said he saw smoke coming out from the front side of the plane so he  moved toward the (emergency) exit a few seats behind him, waiting for the pilot to say something (see other story).

“Should I or should I not open? I was worried. If the smoke thickened, I’m not going to wait for the engine to explode,” Gaisano narrated.

Fortunately, the smoke did not thicken, he said.

Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific President and Chief Executive Officer apologized for the mishap at the Davao airport.

He told ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) Business Nightly Monday night hat the incident was “most unfortunate” but said it was too early to speculate why it happened.

Gokongwei said it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the landing mishap.

He explained to ANC that the pilot opted for  “precautionary disembarkattion” rather than “emergency disembarkation” to avoid panic and injuries.

Mayor Sara Duterte, on the other hand,  is venting her ire on the management of the Davao International Airport for alleged poor management of Sunday’s emergency situation.

Duterte said the Civil Aviation of the Philippines (CAAP) “should make heads roll.”

“We will submit a complaint to put on record their non-existent emergency plan,” she said in a text message.

The mayor ordered Emmanuel Jaldon, head of Davao Central 911 Communication and Emergency Response Center, to draft the complaint.

Jaldon reported that the airport personnel and Cebu Pacific failed to cooperate with Central 911 and refrained from giving information on the incident.

He said a CAAP personnel just told him that they “did not need help because everything was okay.”

“But we still dispatched our emergency medical service,” Jaldon said.

He said they learned of the situation of the passengers when an employee of Cebu Pacific requested for an ambulance to aid some of the passengers who were complaining of hypertension.

“The problem was that no one coordinated with 911. No one gave us information when we called them and when we arrived on the scene. It seems CAAP and (Cebu Pacific) do not follow basic protocols for emergencies involving aircraft,” he said.

The DIA, Jaldon claimed, has no emergency plan.

Duterte, who was at the airport Sunday night to send off a brother in law noted that the airport had no emergency lights when power went off Sunday night. “It was pitch dark,” she told ABS-CBN News. She said the DIA officials should coordinate with the city government, especially on addressing the needs of the airport.

Frederick San Felix, airport manager, told a press conference Monday that there was a backup electricity along the runway and tower despite the power outage on Sunday night.

He claimed the airport has highly-trained personnel that could handle emergency situations.  (MindaNews)