Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Senate panel to MIAA: Suspend Memorandum Circular No. 8 collecting terminal fees from OFWs

Press Release
February 9, 2015

Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/Senator.Cynthia.Villar/photos

A Senate panel hearing the resolution on the memorandum circular directing the integration of terminal fees into airline tickets at point of sale pushed for the suspension of its implementation pending the creation of a computer program that will automatically exempt overseas Filipino workers from paying terminal fees.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, who was designated to head the Committee on Public Services Sub-Committee "E" hearing on Proposed Senate Resolution No. 1015, was joined by Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano, Senators Nancy Binay and Koko Pimentel during the committee hearing.

The resolution, authored by Pimentel, directs the Senate to conduct an inquiry on the implementation of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Memorandum Circular No. 8 Series of 2014, integrating the International Passenger Service Charge or terminal fee into all airline tickets.

Villar said she is not against any change that would put things in order such as the contention of MIAA in coming up with the Memorandum Circular - "to address the congestion in all NAIA terminals with the increasing volume of passengers."

"However, if the change would affect the rights of a vulnerable and valuable sector such as our OFWs or migrant workers, then we have to exhaust all efforts to further look into these and find ways on how to remedy it or improve the mechanism of its implementation so as not to unnecessarily inconvenience our OFWs," she added.

During the hearing, MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado said he is open to sit down with airline consultants that will work on a computer software that will in effect honor the exemption of OFWs from paying the 550 terminal fee as granted by the law.

Villar also said she will author a resolution to be signed by all senators requesting MIAA to recall the implementation of MC 8 until after MIAA and stakeholders have come up with a computer solution that will automatically grant the exemption for OFWs.

Republic Act 8042 as amended by RA 10022, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 provides that OFWs are exempted from paying the travel tax and airport fees.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Go easy on our heroes, the OFWs

Philippine Daily Inquirer
Letter to the Editor
4 February 2014

On Feb. 1, the Manila International Airport Administration (Miaa) pushed through with the implementation of its Memorandum Circular No. 08. This integrates airport terminal fee of P550 into the airline fare of outgoing international passengers, including our overseas Filipino workers.

I, however, find it unconscionable for MIAA, under General Manager Jose Angel A. Honrado, to keep on ignoring our opposition to this circular on International Passenger Service Charge, which blatantly violates the 1995 Migrant Workers Act, as amended by Republic Act No. 10022.

Last I checked, under our existing laws, OFWs are granted exemptions from paying travel tax, documentary stamps and airport terminal fees upon proper showing of proof of entitlement, which is the overseas employment certificate issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Incidentally, there is no mention in the law about a process by which to obtain refunds or even for OFWs to pay now and be exempt later. MIAA’s MC 08, I believe, ignores the very spirit and intent of this particular provision of our law that protects the rights of OFWs.

If the integration policy finally pushes through, as MIAA insists, migrant workers who buy tickets online or whose employers send them e-tickets will be forced to pay the P550 terminal fee despite an exemption that has been in effect for the past 19 years. Already hard-pressed with the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, our OFWs and their families would continue to bear the brunt of yet additional burden on their shoulders.

What is even more appalling is the fact that Honrado is disregarding our incessant calls to shelve the implementation of MC 08 pending legislative inquiries in the Senate and the House of Representatives or until such time when a system can be developed, in partnership with the POEA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, that enables such integration to push through without prejudice to the existing exemptions meant for OFWs.

I do hope that President Aquino will find it in his heart to heed the plea of our OFWs, “our modern-day heroes,” by shelving the integration of airport terminal fee in airline fares.

Philippine Migrants Rights Watch 

12:41 AM | Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/82261/go-easy-on-our-heroes-the-ofws#ixzz3QvyiRgfT 

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