Bello wants collection of terminal fee from OFWs stopped ASAP
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday called on airline companies to immediately stop the collection of travel tax and terminal fees from OFWs, saying failure to do so could mean legal actions from the government.
"[We] will confer with the Office of the Solicitor General to come up with the legal action to stop it immediately," Bello said in a statement. "Not April 30, but now."
Bello was referring to the date of the effectivity of the agreement entered into by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) with 40 air carriers regarding the collection of Passenger Service Charge (PSC) or airport terminal fee.
Based on the agreement, signed March 15, OFWs will be exempted from paying the P550 International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) or the P200 Domestic Passenger Service Charge (DPSC), both inclusive of VAT, upon face-to-face purchase of tickets locally and abroad.
Exemptions for online purchases, meanwhile, will start on July 31, 2017.
But according to Bello, there was no legal basis for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and airline companies to collect the travel tax and terminal fees from OFWs as they are exempted based on Presidential Decree No. 1183 and Republic Act No. 8042, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, as Amended by R. A. No. 10022.
OFWs who paid the fee are encouraged to avail of the refund at the airport.
"The continuous collection of travel tax and terminal fees from OFWs is not correct because the law exempting them took effect three years ago," Bello said. "They should have stopped the collection as early as three years ago."
CAAP administers the collection of prescribed charges and fees pertinent to the operation of public air services, as well as maintains national airports and air navigations. —KBK, GMA News