Travel agency accused of using fake tickets

Subscribe Now February 05, 2013 at 09:46pm

A group of parents of high school students lodged a complaint before the Department of Education (DepEd) against a travel agency in Davao City for issuing fake domestic plane tickets. The parents aired their grievances in a letter-complaint submitted to the DepEd legal department. The letter was submitted by Maria Gemina Valderrama-Galang and a letter of complaint addressed to the travel tour management written by lawyer Renato Bartolo Jr., DepEd-Davao legal officer.

This developed after Hager Travel and Tours, owned by Dabawenyo Marlon Hager, refused to issue valid tickets to its clients, most of them had availed promo tour packages both domestic and international destinations.

In their letter, the parents said the travel is part of the students’ academic requirement in school.

Velderama-Galang is one of the mothers of high school students from Southpoint High School who have availed themselves of the round-trip tickets from Davao to Puerto Princesa for the travel period of February 26 to March 2.

The group bought the tickets almost four months advance to avail of the promo rates.

In the complaint, Galang-Valderrama said a certain Resley Agua, Hager's ticketing officer assisted their flight booking where they paid P1,989 per roundtrip ticket.

All in all, since October 4, the group bought a total of 10 roundtrip tickets.

It was only on January 3 when Valderrama-Galang suspected something is wrong with their booking when the soft copy of the last ticket that they booked was not sent as promised by Agua.

Instead of the copy of the last ticket, Valderrama-Galang said Hager -- in a Facebook message -- informed her on January 9 that they will send the copy of the remaining ticket as soon as their ticketing officer arrives.

The complainant said that on January 10, Hager announced that Agua is no longer connected with the company, adding the travel agency did not take the effort to inform them of their booking status.

Valderrama-Galang said she was sure another staff named Shenna Orozco and the owner were present when she paid her tickets. After rushing to Hager's office, she was told that she will be informed on the development of her claims.

A few days later, Valderrama-Galang said she got a message from Hager telling her that there is nothing that the management can do to issue valid tickets or at least issue a refund.

Marlon Hager, in a phone interview, told Sun.Star Davao they are also victim in this case since Agua ran away bringing the money of their clients and leaving them to issue either refund of valid tickets.

Hager said Agua went AWOL (absent without official leave) starting January 3, leaving no trace of her whereabouts.

He said Agua managed to issue fake plane tickets by copying from their system's ticket templates.

Hager added that because of his trust and confidence with Agua, the latter was able to issue official receipts by skipping a receipt booklets and manipulating their book of accounts.

Right after Agua disappeared, around 70-80 complainants have flooded their office with their respective claims that would amount to roughly P2 million.

"Dili pud ko mo undang hangtod dili mo gawas si Resley (Agua) kay pati ako, biktima pud ko ani dako na kayo kog na gasto para pang bayad sa uban namo na mga kliyente (I won't stop until Agua will surface. I'm also a victim here and I have already spent big amount money in paying some of our clients)," Hager lamented.

He said they have already paid around P300,000 in refunding some of their customers' tickets.

At present, they are now gathering information and are mulling to take legal actions against her staff who took away their clients' money.

Valderrama-Galang said that even if Hager did end up being swindled by its own employee, that is an internal problem that should not be passed on to their customers.

The Department of Tourism in Davao Region has yet to issue an official statement on the matter, although it has already been made aware of the complaint.


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