The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on Tuesday clarified a statement from the Department of Labor and Employment asking the agency to refund the P500-million terminal fees and travel taxes paid by Overseas Filipino Workers.
CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said all OFWs registered at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration are exempt from terminal fees.
He cited Section 22 of RA 10022 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act) which provides “All laws to the contrary notwithstanding, the migrant workers shall be exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport fee upon proper showing of proof of entitlement by the POEA.”
However, Apolonio said the OFW must personally claim for the refund because the point of sale cannot recognize if the purchaser is an OFW or not.
“This is complicated further because it is the airlines that collect terminal fees,” he said.
Apolonio added that CAAP collects Terminal Fees only on its seven international airports namely, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Gensan, Zamboanga, Iloilo, Kalibo and Laoag, which are seldom, use by OFWs in leaving for their destination abroad.
The CAAP, is an attached agency of the Department of Transportation, just like separate airport authorities like the Manila International Airport Authority, Clark, Mactan-Cebu and Lalo.
“These authorities have their own refund procedures as well,” said Apolonio.
Travel taxes are normally included in the ticket fare and are collected by Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, not CAAP, he added.
The Manila International Airport Authority officials said earlier that OFWs are exempted from paying terminal fee charges by just presenting their Overseas Employment Certificates issued by the POEA when buying airline tickets.
More than P500 million of unclaimed refund for OFWs are still at the general fund of Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
MIAA officials, meanwhile, have proposed to raise the terminal fees to cover the cost of service improvements at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
MIAA general manager Eddie Monreal said the terminal fee adjustment would be implemented in the second quarter next year.
According to Monreal, the NAIA terminal fee is cheapest compared to Mactan Cebu International Airport which charged international travelers with P850, and P300 for the domestic passengers.
In Subic Bay International Airport, the rate is P650 for international and P150 for domestic while Clark International Airport charge air travelers with P600 terminal fee for international and P150 for domestic trip, he added.
Under the proposal, NAIA wanted the terminal fee or the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) for international flights to be P750 from the present rate of P550, and for domestic flights, the proposed rate is P300 from the present rate of P200.
Monreal said the proposal has already been discussed in public hearings and was approved by the MIAA board, which the management agreed to impose in April 2019.
The terminal fee hike, Monreal said, will also cover the airport operational expenses such as on infrastructures and service improvements, and other expenses.
The new terminal fees will also be included in the plane tickets and paid by the airlines.