A “simple gift” from President Rodrigo Duterte is how transportation and airport officials refer to the terminal fee exemption afforded to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
The exemption was made official through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed today between the Department of Transportation – Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the 40 airline companies operating at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Under the MOA, starting April 30, 2017, the International Passenger Service charge (IPSC) or the terminal fee amounting to PHP550 shall be waived for OFWs, pilgrims, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) delegates, and others authorized by law and the Office of the President to travel outside the Philippines. Exemption shall be honored upon face to face purchase of tickets. By the end of July 2017, the exemption will also apply to online purchases. This means migrant workers no longer need to queue for refund when departing from NAIA.
The MOA is consistent with President Duterte’s directive to give OFWs a seamless and hassle-free experience at the airport.
Transportation Secretary Art Tugade, who witnessed the signing, recalled the time he shared the good news to Duterte. He said Duterte was delighted. “Regalo ko ito sa mga OFWs pagkat mahal ko sila,” Tugade said quoting the President.
Tugade also thanked the air carriers for trusting the government. He also hailed MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal for making sure that this level of service is extended to OFWs.
“It is but fitting that we afford them utmost care and attention in very possible way we can. 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,” said Monreal.
It can be recalled that the IPSC Integration Project implemented in February 2015 was met with opposition from concerned OFW groups and advocates as it required OFWs to go through a refund process.