Monday, March 6, 2017

Bello: Unrefunded terminal fees should go to OWWA

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has asked the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to remit the unrefunded travel tax and terminal fee of OFWs o the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
By law, OFWs are exempted from travel tax and terminal fees, but still have to pay them as they are incorporated in the cost of plane tickets. For this, a refund system is in place, although OFWs often complain about how time-consuming it is.
"While some OFWs are refunded of these travel tax and fees at the airport prior to their departure, most of them, however, are not refunded of the same either because of lack of awareness about this privilege or lack of material time to process their claim for refund at the airport," Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a letter to CAAP Dir. Gen. Capt. Jim Sydionco dated February 21.

"Considering that the inclusion of these travel tax and terminal fees in the cost of tickets has been a practice of airline companies for several years, we request that travel tax and fees collected from our OFWs which were not refunded to them be remitted/returned to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached agency of the Department tasked to handle the funds for OFWs," he added.

Bello also called on the CAAP to inform airport terminals to stop collecting travel tax and terminal fees from OFWs. He also asked Sydiongco to tell airline companies to stop including travel tax and terminal fees in tickets purchased by or for OFWs.

"We likewise request your good office to make the necessary representation to concerned government office in different airport terminals to cease and desist from collecting travel tax and terminal fees from our travelling OFWs, and for the airline companies to stop incorporating in the cost of their tickets issued to OFWs such travel tax and fees," he said.

Meanwhile, Bello also ordered Undersecretary and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) OIC Dominador Say and OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac to find ways to automatically exempt OFWs from travel tax and terminal fees. —KBK, GMA News

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