MANILA—Two lady senators on Thursday welcomed the move of both public and private sectors to scrap PHP550 airport terminal fee for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The MOA was signed between the Department of Transportation-Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and 40 airline companies operating at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Terminal fees will be waived for OFWs, pilgrims, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) delegates and others authorized by law and the Office of the President traveling outside the country starting April 30, 2017.
The exemption will be honored upon purchase of tickets and will also apply to online purchases effective end of July 2017. This way, migrant workers no longer need to line up for refund when departing from NAIA.
Binay described the development as a “welcome relief” to OFWs.
“The PHP550 terminal fee is an extra burden to our OFWs. This fee should never have been shouldered by them in the first place,” Binay said.
Villar, for her part, described it as “a step in the direction of streamlining the processes of OFWs.”
“It has always been my position that the integration of terminal fees in plane tickets doesn’t have to be done in a way that will inconvenience and violate the rights of our OFWs,” Villar said.
In 2015, Binay filed a Senate resolution which called for an investigation on these terminal fees noting that it was a disservice to OFWs.
The IPSC integration was moved to November 1, 2014 from October 1, 2014 after the Pasay Regional Trial Court temporarily stopped its collection from OFWs. The fee was included into airline tickets of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific on February 1, 2015.
Under the Migrant Workers’ Act of 1995, the said fee should be waived upon presenting an overseas employment certificate (OEC) but OFWs had no choice but to pay for the IPSC as it was already integrated in their plane tickets.
Villar also took note of reports saying that some PHP1.5 billion worth of terminal fees was unclaimed by OFWs and exempted individuals.
She said that upon face-to-face purchase of tickets, OFWs must present any one of the following documents to avail of the exemption: overseas employment certificate (OEC), photocopy of a valid work visa or permit; employment contract; current employment certificate, or recent pay slip.
OFWs and other exempt passengers can still claim for refund of terminal fees until April 29, 2018 at airport refund counters. After which, refund will be claimed at MIAA.