• Airlines barred from charging tax on OFWs

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    AIRLINES are no longer allowed to incorporate the cost of travel tax and terminal fees in tickets issued to departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

    Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd informed Director General Jim Sydiongco of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) of the order on Friday in a letter.

    Bello pointed out that under the law, OFWs are exempted from paying travel tax and terminal fees, citing Presidential Decree 1183 and Republic Act (RA) 8042, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, as amended by RA 100022.

    “It has come to my attention that the travel tax and terminal fees are being included in the cost of the airline tickets issued to our OFWs. While some OFWs were refunded of these fees at the airport prior to their departure, most of them, however, were not refunded because of lack of awareness about this privilege or lack of time to process their claim for refund,” said Bello in a cease-and-desist order.

    He also requested the CAAP to remit the travel tax and terminal fees that were not refunded to the OFWs to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).

    “Considering that the inclusion of these travel tax and terminal fees in the cost of tickets has been a practice of airline companies for several years, we request that the travel tax and fees collected from our OFWs which were not refunded to them be remitted to the OWWA,” said Bello.

    The DoLE chief also instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and OWWA to coordinate with CAAP and airport officials on the implementation of a mechanism for the automatic exemption of OFWs from travel tax and terminal fees.

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