Starting April 30, 2017, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will no longer have to pay the Passenger Service Charge (PSC) or airport terminal fee following an agreement between the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and air carriers.
MIAA General Manager Eddie Monreal and representatives from 40 air carriers signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) at the Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, OFWs, including new ones, will be exempted from paying the P550 International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) or the P200 Domestic Passenger Service Charge (DPSC), both inclusive of VAT, upon face-to-face purchase of tickets locally and abroad.
Exemptions for online purchases, meanwhile, will start on July 31, 2017.
Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade was at hand to witness the signing of the MOA, which he said was a government service due to OFWs.
"Kailangan nating ipakita ang tulong sa kanila, pagkat kailangan nating iparamdam natin kahit sa konting pamaraan na sila ay espesyal," he said.
Gift from President
President Rodrigo Duterte supposedly wanted to "gift" the exemption to OFWs as early as December, but could not do so due to the complexities of such an agreement.
"'Regalo ko ito at munting alaala para sa OFW pagkat mahal ko ang OFW'," Tugade quoted Duterte as saying. "He wanted to be able to give you and gift you a simple token which he feels can mean a lot for you."
In his speech before the signing, Monreal said he hopes the MOA will streamline the experience of OFWs at the airport.
"We hope that after revisiting the integration process earlier implemented in 2015 and instituting changes in the process of exemption, our OFWs will have a seamless airport experience since they no longer have to queue for refund as they depart from NAIA," he said.
Aside from OFWs, also exempted are pilgrims, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) delegates, and others authorized by law and the Office of the President traveling outside the Philippines.
Those covered by the exemption must present any one of the following documents to avail of the exemption: overseas employment certificate (OEC); photocopy of valid work visa or permit, employment contract, current employment certificate, company ID, or recent pay slip.
MIAA Exemption Certificates will also be honored.
OFWs and other exempt passengers who have already been charged may avail of refunds from air carriers.
They may claim refunds at refund counters at all airport terminals until April 29, 2018, after which they must claim them at the MIAA Administration Building.
In his speech, Tugade thanked air carriers for agreeing to the MOA and said the government will do everything to help them grow their business.
"The President says thank you airlines. And if there is anything we can do and the government can do, within the context of good governance and uniform platform... to make your business go, grow, and glow in this country, please remember: I am just a text and phone call away," he said. —KBK, GMA News