Villar seeks terminal fee probe

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Sen. Cynthia Villar has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into the legality of the memorandum integrating airport fees into airline tickets.

The resolution directs the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, which Villar chairs, to conduct an inquiry on the mandate, powers and responsibilities of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) in the light of the issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 8 Series of 2014.

“Specifically, we want to know whether or not it is within the mandate of MIAA to collect fees from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and what happens to the amount not refunded by OFWs,” Villar said.
He panel will tackle the resolution today.

Villar said OFW groups have expressed opposition to the memorandum.
“MIAA’s collection of the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) without distinguishing between exempted and non-exempted persons and MIAA’s custody and use of unreimbursed IPSC payments collected from exempted persons are public interest concerns as these are alleged to be illegal, arbitrary and essentially confiscatory,” part of the resolution said.


“There is a need to determine if the implementation of the memorandum, as MIAA claims, will actually result in the decongestion of airport terminals and if MIAA’s possession and use of unreimbursed IPSC payments are legal,” Villar said.

Earlier, the senator lamented the board’s inaction and what appeared to be insensitivity in continuing the implementation of the memorandum despite a call from the Senate.

“We filed a resolution signed by 20 senators, who are elected representatives of the people, saying this is a move that not only causes inconvenience to OFWs, it is also against the law. It is unfortunate that authorities refuse to see that and instead chose to turn a deaf ear to the sentiment of the OFWs,” Villar said.

On Feb. 11, Senate Resolution No. 1179 was filed by 20 senators urging the MIAA Board to recall the memorandum integrating the P550 terminal fee into airline tickets at point of sale.

The senators said since the integration is not urgent and that there will be no loss of profit on the part of the government, MIAA and concerned government agencies should first work on a computer system that will automatically exempt overseas Filipino workers from paying the terminal fee as provided by Section 35 of Republic Act No. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, as amended by RA 10022.

PNA

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