Manila International Airport Authority general manager Eddie Monreal on Wednesday assured the government the more than P277-million unrefunded terminal fees remained intact in the agency’s custody.
“The amount is kept by MIAA in a trust account and is distinct and separate from the agency’s corporate funds. The money does not belong to MIAA. It will remain in the trust account until fully refunded to the passengers who own them,” he said.
Monreal said domestic terminal fees remitted to MIAA totaled P172,333,700.
He added the amount came from Cebu Pacific Air and its sister airline Cebgo and covered unused tickets.
Meanwhile, P105,320,679 remitted to MIAA by 18 international carriers pertain to international terminal fees left unrefunded by Overseas Filipino Workers and non-OFW passengers.
“Together, the total amount remitted to MIAA by air carriers amount to P277,654,379 million pesos as of November 6, 2018. This is contrary to the P500 million which came out in news reports earlier this week,” the MIAA clarified.
The airport authority stated that OFWs only need to present their copy of the Overseas Employment Certificate and ticket among others, to refund.
On the other hand, non-OFW passengers with unused airline tickets may refund by showing their ticket or proof of purchase and ownership or certification from the airline that they were not able to take their flight.
Monreal said that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade had ordered the funds transferred to the appropriate agency if directed by the authority vested with the mandate to decide on the matter.
Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said earlier that the collection of terminal fees was “illegal” because Presidential Decree 1183 and Republic Act 8042, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, stated that OFWs are exempted from paying travel tax and terminal fees. Joel Zurbano
“I am wondering why they continue to collect. In fact, we already wrote them a letter that they should not collect. This is illegal extraction and they may be liable [under the law]. So we are writing them again to remind them of this exemption of OFWs,” he told a news briefing.
Bello also reminded the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to remit to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration P500 million, the money collected from OFWs since 2015.
“They [airline companies] have to account to us how much they collected for the last three years and how much they have remitted to CAAP. We will also ask the CAAP to account to us how much has been remitted to them by the airlines, and then ask them to remit this amount immediately OWWA,” he said.
Bello said while some OFWs were given refunds, many failed to get a refund either because they had no time to process their claim or they did not know that they can get their money back.