PAL’s debt settlement 'good compromise': Poe

By Azer Parrocha

November 6, 2017, 7:01 pm

MANILA -- Senator Grace Poe on Monday described the PHP-6 billion settlement of flag carrier Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) liabilities with the government as a “good compromise.”

“Given that the outstanding arrears of PAL amount to PHP6.91 billion for navigational charges, I think that the settlement of PHP6 billion is acceptable,” Poe said in a text message.

“The settlement expedites the collection proceedings and for me, this is a good compromise,” she added.

Poe pointed out the amount is actually more than what the government can substantiate with invoices, which is only PHP3.6 billion.

She said that the money will be used to fund free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

“The money will go to a noble and much-needed govt program -- that of free tuition for SUCs, the funding of which is an immediate concern,” she added.

Moreover, Poe said that the settlement will also prevent time lost on protracted litigation and allow both parties to save on expenses for legal fees.

The Senate and House appropriations committees have both vowed to find the needed budget to fund the law granting free tuition in SUCs.

Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, earlier said she will “make sure that this is funded under the 2018 budget.”

On Friday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and PAL, in a joint statement, announced that the government accepted its offer to pay PHP6 billion worth of navigational fees, and other charges. (PNA)