OFWs now exempt from paying airport terminal fees

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By Aerol John B. Patena

MANILA, March 15 (PNA) — Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are now exempted from paying terminal fees at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

This initiative was a result of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that was signed between the Department of Transportation- Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and 40 airline companies operating at the NAIA.

The agreement is consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to ensure a seamless and hassle-free experience at the airport to OFWs.

The International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) or the terminal fee worth Php 550 shall 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 shall be honoured upon purchase of tickets and will also apply to online purchases effective end of July 2017.

Thus, migrant workers no longer need to line up for refund when departing from NAIA.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade expressed gratitude for the support of the air carriers. He also commended MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal for ensuring that this will be extended to OFWs.

“This is a gift to the OFWs from our President and is a manifestation of his concern for their welfare,” according to Tugade.

For his part, Monreal said: “It is but fitting that we afford them utmost care and attention in very possible way we can. We hope that after revisiting the integration process earlier implemented in 2015 and instituting changes in the process of exemption, our OFWs will have a seamless airport experience.”

The MIAA had imposed the integration of international terminal fee in airline tickets purportedly to ease congestion in Manila airports.

Under the regulation, the OFWs are required to pay the Php 550 terminal fee when buying plane tickets online or from airline ticket offices.

They can claim a refund prior to their departure from or upon their return to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

OFW groups had opposed the imposition of terminal fees, saying it is a clear violation of the Migrant Workers Act of 1995 that exempts the OFWs from paying the terminal fee.

The OFWs were not able to claim their refund due to little time to line up at the departure refund counters as they have to catch their flights.

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