A lawmaker on Thursday hailed the decision of Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal to stop the collection of the P550 airport terminal fee from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
According to Rep. John Bertiz 3rd of ACTS-OFW party-list group, it is about time that the MIAA rescind its Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 8 that took effect last February 1 because it blatantly violates a law that grants exemptions for OFWs from paying the airport terminal fee, among others.
“I commend Monreal’s move to stop the collection of airport terminal fee for our OFWS starting March next year. This is long overdue because its continued collection disregards the exemptions granted by law to our fellow OFWs,” he said in a statement.
Beriz was referring to Section 35 of Republic Act 8042, as amended by RA 10022, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act, which exempts OFWs from paying travel tax, documentary stamp and airport termi- nal fee.
Monreal earlier announced that starting March 2017, the OFWs will no longer have to queue at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to refund the P550 terminal fee integrated in the airline tickets they purchase.
He disclosed that while his office is finishing technical details with international airlines so that they would stop collecting the fee from OFWs, it will be ready to refund OFWs who can present a copy of their E-ticket, boarding pass and passport.
“Finally, our hardworking OFWs need not have to queue at the refund counters. This is indeed a very welcome development as we have been fighting for years to revoke this illegal memorandum issued by the previous administration,” Bertiz said.
He also earlier filed House Resolution 14, which seeks a House inquiry into the implementation of Memorandum Circular 8, Series of 2014 integrating the P550 airport terminal fee in the airline tickets of all international passengers, including OFWs.
“This directive [MC 8] not only removes the benefits granted by law to millions of OFWs, notably their exemption from payment of airport terminal fee, but also the very spirit of the law and the intention of our lawmakers,” Bertiz said.
The MIAA acknowledges the OFWs’ exemption by providing a scheme where the workers can refund integrated terminal fee upon showing of the Overseas Employment Certificate issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.