Migrante Europe today expressed appreciation on the order of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to airline companies to stop incorporating the travel tax and terminal fees on ticket prices issued to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in a letter to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco, said OFWs are exempted from paying travel tax and terminal fees based on Presidential Decree No. 1183 and Republic Act No. 8042, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995.
Bello asked the CAAP to remit the travel tax and terminal fees, which were not refunded to OFWs, to the Overseas Worker and Welfare Administration (OWWA).
The Labor secretary also instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and OWWA to coordinate with the CAAP and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) in planning a mechanism for the automatic exemption of OFWs from paying the travel tax and terminal fees.
“If anyone deserves thanks, it is Secretary Bello for his commitment and immediate response to the urgent calls of migrant Filipinos;” said Fr. Herbert Fadriquela, Migrante Europe Chairperson.
It can be recalled that Ann Brusola, Migrante Europe Secretary General, and other migrant leaders in Europe had a dialogue in the sideline with Sec. Bello in January 24 this year in Rome during the 3rd round of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Amongst the issues and concerns raised during the dialogue was the collection of travel tax and terminal fees that are included in the cost of airline tickets issued to overseas Filipinos, in spite of PD 1183 and the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 stating that OFWs are exempted from said fees.
“With the government accumulated PhP5 billion from unreimbursed terminal fees, about PhP19 billion for the OWWA fund, and US$28 billion a year from the remittances of Filipino migrant workers, we have high hopes that these amounts will be translated into more concrete programs and services for the benefit of OFWs.” Father Herbert concluded.
Revd Fr. Herbert F. Fadriquela Jr.
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