Court of Appeals upholds Government on Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Reform

11 September 2013

The Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced that the Court of Appeals (CA) Seventh Division issued a Resolution dated 12 August 2013 dismissing the petition of various employee organizations in the Bureau of Immigration (BI) questioning CIQ reform. For many years, BI employees were collecting charges for overtime payments from airline and shipping companies.

The CA declared as valid and constitutional the policy stopping the practice of charging such overtime pay on private entities and for the national government to assume such obligation to pay overtime in case of lawful rendition of overtime services, immigration work being a basic government function. The Resolution found that there is no legal impediment for such a measure. The CA stressed:

"Without a doubt, the subject issuances finally and correctly acknowledge that the National Government has a bigger responsibility towards its CIQ personnel. It has a better say as to when overtime work  is necessary and who should assume the payment of overtime compensation."

The dispositive portion of the Resolution reads, in part:

“WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The Memorandum, dated, July 31, 2012, issued by DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima and the Letter issued by then DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas, dated August 3, 2012, are declared VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL. The concerned agencies are hereby DIRECTED to comply with the directives under the said issuances."

The said issuances directed the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) to stop payment of overtime compensation to employees of the National Government rendering CIQ services.

"We are pleased that the competition reforms advocated for by the DOJ through our Office for Competition (OFC) is being affirmed by our courts," said Secretary Leila M. De Lima who recently gave the welcome remarks at the 8th East Asia Conference on Competition Law and Policy highlighted by the keynote address of the President. "This continues our good governance initiatives and supporting our investment and tourism targets by the firm and steady application of the rule of law," she said.

The DOJ recently published its Case Study No. 1 on "The Case of  Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Charges" in July 2013 to explain the CIQ reforms as part of its mandate to promote a culture of competition and increase access to economic justice.

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