House solons appeal to MIAA to suspend terminal fee integration of OFWs

By on February 12, 2015

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Wikipedia photo)
Terminal fee payment counters (Wikipedia photo)

MANILA — The House committee on Overseas Workers Affairs on Wednesday appealed to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to stop the Php 550 terminal fee integration (TFI) to airline tickets of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) while waiting for the judgment of the court on the implementation.

During the committee hearing, Ang NARS party-list Rep, Leah Paquiz asked Assistant General Manager for Finance and Administration Herminia Castillo and Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the MIAA Legal Office Ma. Perla Dumo, who represent MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, to suspend Memorandum Circular No. 8 or the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) scheme.

The request came after several rights protection groups for OFWs under the umbrella, “No to 550 Coalition” complained that the new MIAA implementation is a violation of the Migrant Workers Act of 1995 that exempts the OFWs from terminal fees.

When asked by the House panel Chairman and Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, MIAA representatives cannot give categorical answer to the questions when they will suspend the TFI.

Bello said he doubts if the MIAA was able to conduct a time and motion study where they will be able to test if the TFI would properly work before its implementation due to the long queue the new policy resulted upon its implementation.

“We seriously see this (terminal fee integration) as a challenge to our OFWs and also a challenge to the Congress,” said Bello.

The Committee also questioned the MIAA representatives to their awareness on the employee-to-passenger ration when they found out that the TFI system is understaffed with only two personnel assigned in the refund counter.

According to Alay Buhay Party-list Rep. Westley Gatchalian, the MIAA should be responsible in checking the flexibility of their staffing especially during peak season in the airport to avoid the bottleneck of OFWs queuing up before the refund counter.

Aside from the House of Representatives, the Senate through Sen. Cynthia Villar also asked MIAA to suspend the terminal fee integration to which Honrado answered he would tell the Board about it but not endorse it.

The MIAA earlier claimed that they implemented the terminal fee integration for OFWs to avoid long queues and relieve terminal congestion in their airports.