Screengrab Credit: GMA News
The P550 terminal fee for international flights implemented by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) starts today, February 1, 2015. However, OFWs do not agree saying that it is an additional burden for them. In line with this, President Noynoy Aquino is set to review possible easier refund process.
“We will implement the integration on February 1, 2015 despite an appeal from OFWs sector and impending motions which has yet to be resolved by the court.” Cielo Villaluna, a spokesperson for the Philippine Airlines (PAL) said on a previous report.
The said P550 terminal fee is considered as part of the ticket cost mentioned in the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the airline companies operating in the Philippines and MIAA. For domestic flights, the integration of terminal fees has been implemented since 2013.
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Earlier, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) explained how the additional P550 terminal fee will be spent. According to the agency, P390 will be allotted go to for maintenance expenses of MIAA, P100 will go to the national government, and the remaining P60 will go to aviation security.
Apparently, Filipinos working abroad and some concerned groups have been protesting this action since last year. This is after OFWs were removed from exemption to pay this P550 terminal fee. This automatic inclusion for plane ticket cost was initially set for implementation on October 1, 2014.
Migrant Filipino group Global OFW Voices filed an online petition at Change.org, demanding the DOTC for the exemption of all OFWs from this additional fee. OFW Family Club party-list Rep. Roy Seneres filed charges against MIAA, with Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon supporting the idea.
The OFW support groups cited Section 22 of the Republic Act 10022 (or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995), which states that “migrant workers shall be exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport-fee upon proper showing of proof entitlement by the POEA.”
Nonetheless, OFWs can still request for a refund in three different ways. They can claim it on the day of their departure, after the departure date, or through an authorized representative. However, the process needs some related documents, which the OFWs claim to be an additional burden for them.
“Nauunawaan ng pangulo ang mga sakripisyo ng ating mga kababayan na nagpapakahirap sa pagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa. Mayroon na po siyang kopya ng refund process para sa karagdagang P550 terminal fee, at kanya na itong sinisiyasat kung paano mapapadali.” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio B. Coloma told press people on Friday.
(The president understands the sacrifices of our fellow Filipinos working abroad. He already has a copy of the refund process for the additional P550 terminal fee, and he is now reviewing how it can be done easier.)
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