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Efren Wee, senior citizen

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Efren Wee, senior citizen

/ 05:08 AM August 14, 2017

Last July 31, I wrote about the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Class of 1975. In providing a bit of AIM history, I mentioned that Jaime Zobel de Ayala pledged a one-hectare piece of land in Makati as the site for the new school.

In an Aug. 8 letter to the editor, Joan Orendain writes that
“It was Enrique Zobel, not Jaime Zobel, who donated the land.”

At the library of the Institute are pictures of the founders of AIM. They are: Washington Sycip, James F. Donelan, Eugenio Lopez Sr., Jaime Zobel de Ayala, H. Gabriel Connon, FSC, Paul Hebert, and Ralph Sorenson. Also at the library, is a photo-display titled “Becoming: The Story of AIM. This timeline represents important dates, events, and milestones in AIM’s history during its 47 years of existence.”

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Among the events mentioned for the year 1968 was the pledge by Jaime Zobel de Ayala. The caption reads: “Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala formalized Ayala Corporation’s pledge of a one-hectare land in Makati for the new school.”

A few more notes on AIM.

Sixto K. Roxas was the first Filipino president of AIM.

Francis G. Estrada was the first AIM alumnus to serve as president.

Napoleon Nazareno serves as the chair of both the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees. He is the first alumnus to occupy these positions.

The current president and dean of the Institute is Jikyeong Kang. She holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree from Colorado State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea.

In 1995, the Asian Institute of Management was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding. Part of the citation reads: “In electing the AIM to receive the 1995 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, the Board of Trustees recognizes its setting region-wide standards for excellence and relevance in training Asians to manage Asia’s business and development.” At the time of the award, Felipe
Alfonso, a long-time faculty member who was instrumental in the development of the Master in Management (MM) program, was serving as president.

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An old friend, Efren Wee of Zamboanga City, has a long memory and the wise habit of keeping copies of receipts used in business transactions.

Wee informs me that more than two years ago, he bought an air ticket from Zamboanga to Manila from Cebu Pacific by phone. Before the transaction was concluded, he informed the ticket agent that he was a senior citizen and thus, entitled to the senior discount provided by law. When he checked in the following day, he showed his driver’s license, clearly indicating his date of birth and his senior citizen status. He also has a senior citizen ID card no. 029332. His request for the senior discount was turned down.

About a month after his trip, he wrote to Councilor Luis Biel III, chair of the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs in Zamboanga City for assistance with the airline company as regards the refund of his senior discount. His complaint was endorsed to the local Department of Trade and Industry office. Two mediation meetings were held without reaching a settlement.

On June 24, 2015, Efren Wee wrote to executive director Carmelo Arcilla, of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), informing the latter of his complaint and asking for assistance. On July 1, 2015, Wee received a copy of an email from Arcilla to his legal staff: “Endorsing the attached complaint for handling. Thanks.”

That was the last Wee heard from the CAB on the matter “Handling” could mean “sleep on it.”

Fast forward. Two years later in July 2017, Wee learns about the refund of the senior discount to a group of seniors (one of whom is a retired general, three are civilians). He sends out
another email to CAB, informing them that practically the same circumstances existed when he bought his ticket in 2015. He again requests for action.

In August 2017, the CAB replies: “Please be informed that airlines have been applying the senior citizen discount since 2005 in face-to-face transactions. The guidelines that was published last 22 July 2017 only relates to application of the discount in online transactions or purchase of tickets for domestic flights. It does not speak of refund of any charges made on flights prior to 2017, as it is prospective in nature.”

Let me remind the CAB that even before the guidelines mentioned above were published, there was as early as 2012 an existing DOTC-DTI administrative order providing for a Bill of Rights for Air Passengers. Section 4.2 of this Bill of Rights reads: “In case of online bookings, the air carrier must establish a system wherein the purchaser is fully apprised of the required disclosures, twice, prior to final submission of online offer to purchase.”

Is it the fault of the senior citizen air passengers that this required system was not set up and in place for their benefit? And, is it not the CAB that should have ensured compliance with the provisions of the Bill of Rights for Air Passengers? These problems would not have cropped up if CAB was on the ball with its duties and responsibilities.

May I also add that Cebu Pacific should reach out to Efren Wee. There is no doubt that he is entitled to the discount, under the Senior Citizen Law and should therefore receive a refund of this amount. Imagine the goodwill that would be generated by such a magnanimous action. He could be your customer for life.

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TAGS: AIM Class of 1975, Asian Institute of Management, Bill of Rights of Air Passengers, Cebu Pacific, Civil Aeronautics Board, Efren Wee, Enrique Zobel, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Ramon Farolan, Reveille, Senior Citizens Discount
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