Airport staff told: OK to say Merry Christmas, but . . .
At Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), it’s all right for employees to greet passengers “Merry Christmas” but they shouldn’t do it “with palm facing up.”
So warned Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal, who said airport workers may extend Christmas cheer to passengers “as long as the delivery of the message is not intended to ask directly or indirectly for gifts.”
Erring employees “will definitely be (meted) disciplinary action,” he stressed, adding, “It really depends on how they say ‘Merry Christmas,’ especially if they say it with palm facing up. We won’t allow those things to happen.”
Speaking on Friday’s press briefing at MIAA, Monreal said Filipinos were so hospitable that it was only natural for them to extend holiday greetings to people to convey the joy of the season. He also admitted that “with so many employees, it will be very hard to monitor them.”
Instead, he added, MIAA officials will “rely on feedback from passengers. We have hotlines that they can call to report this and we will definitely act on it. If an employee has a different meaning for a greeting, there will be penalties and sanctions.”
Airport workers caught soliciting gifts “might not even see Christmas because they’ll be sent to the freezer and thawed by New Year,” Monreal said in jest.
While employees of the Bureau of Immigration and Bureau of Customs, who are based at Naia, are not under the MIAA’s jurisdiction, Monreal said that “they also know (about this prohibition) and are very sensitive about it. President (Duterte) really means it when he warned that a passenger may slap a government employee who (solicits gifts).”
He added: “I just hope nobody gets slapped by the end of the Christmas season.”
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