EFFECTIVE February 1, Philippine Airlines (PAL) will integrate the cost of passenger-terminal fees for international flights as a component of ticket cost.
This move, according to PAL, is being carried out in compliance with the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) and airline companies operating in the country.
The integration of terminal fees with ticket cost will streamline preflight procedures for the convenience of passengers.
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and athletes with terminal-fee exemption certificates issued by the government can present their certificates at point of sale, such as ticketing offices, or they can get a refund at the airport.
The integration of terminal fees of domestic flights into the cost of ticket began in 2013.
Rep. Roy Seneres, OFW Party-list representatative, said he will file a complaint against airport chief Jose Angel Honrado at the Regional Trial Court in Pasay City if he insists on carrying out the terminal fee-integration scheme.
Seneres called on President Aquino to abrogate the controversial order, which he says violate Section 35 the Migrant Workers Act of Republic Act 8042 as amended by RA 10022, which strictly exempts OFWs from the travel tax and the airport terminal fee.
The Miaa memorandum was issued despite an order from the RTC in Pasay which ruled that the terminal-fee integration is unenforceable.
Seneres as the lead convenor of the “No To 550” Coalition composed of OFWs, civil-society groups, recruitment agencies and legislators, strongly condemned the decision of Miaa to integrate the terminal fee into airline tickets.
Miaa General Manager Jose Angel A. Honrado has issued a memorandum directing all airlines to integrate terminal fees on cost of tickets for terminal flights effective February 1, 2015.
The OFW party-list congressman suspects the possibility of some surreptitious arrangements for a rebate from the service fees between the airlines and the Miaa, and projected earnings from bank interests of the unrefunded funds, “all at the expense of hard-earned money of the OFWs.”
“It is for the reasons stated herein and for his blatant display of arrogance and disrespect of the law that this representation will proceed with the filing of charges of contempt with the Pasay RTC and the COWA against Miaa General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, and eventually file charges with the Ombudsman,” Seneres said.
“Respect the Law,” said 17 overseas organizations and migrant groups to Manila Miaa and Malacañang, asking them to wait for the court order and Congressional hearing on the implementation of international terminal fee.
“Respect the law. That is all we ask,” the groups collectively known as No to 550 Coalition said in its position paper, citing the provision in the 19-year-old Migrant Workers’ Act of 1995 exempting OFWs from paying travel tax and airport terminal fees specifically Section 35 of RA 8042 amended by RA 10022.
The Blas Ople Policy Center and training Institute, Susan Ople Foundation, Catholic Bishop’s Ecumenical Commission for migrant groups, including OFWs from Saudi Arabia, Italy, Afghanistan and Macau are appealing to Miaa, Malacañang and to the airlines to wait for the results of the court hearing before the implementation of the latest Miaa’s circular implementing the P550 terminal fee believed to be an unlawful scheme. The coalition reminded Honrado there is still an ongoing court case of certiorari filed by coalition lawyers for the writ of preliminary injunction at the RTC in Pasay City Branch 109 under Judge Tingaran Guiling who issued a resolution on November 19, 2014, that Memorandum Order 8 was unenforceable for lack of publication.
OFWs all over the world, according to recruitment consultant Manny Geslani, are in an uproar over the insistence of Honrado in implementing the terminal fee on February 1, despite an ongoing court case and the existence of a RTC in Pasay City court declaring the IPSC (airport terminal fee) as unenforceable.