MANILA – Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has added his voice to the clamor to get the Manila International Airport Authority to suspend a decision to integrate the P550 International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) into airline tickets. The integration contravenes the law that provides exemption from payment of travel tax and airport fee for Overseas Filipino Workers, said Binay, concurrently presidential adviser on OFW concerns.
“I write with utmost urgency to seek the suspension of MIAA Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 8 directing the integration of the P550.00 International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) into the airline tickets at the point of sale insofar as it directly affects our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs),” Binay said in a letter to MIAA General Manager MGen. Jose Angel Honrado.
“While I fully understand the primary objective of MIAA MC No. 8 to promote smoother, seamless, convenient, safe and hassle-free travel experience at all our airport terminals, the integration of the IPSC into the airline tickets unfortunately has adversely affected the rights of our OFWs under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8042, as amended by R.A. No. 10022, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers Act of 1995,” Binay also said.
Last week, 20 senators wrote the MIAA board with the same appeal, after Honrado appeared at a Senate hearing and said he was not inclined to endorse – and will only convey – to the MIAA board the appeal aired at the hearing by the four senators in attendance then; by a broad coalition of OFW support groups; and despite assurance by IT experts that the integration is not indispensable.
On Tuesday, the Vice President argued that while the said circular entitles OFWs to reimbursement of IPSCs assessed on the plane tickets they have purchased, “the fact of their payment is a violation of the Migrant Workers Act of 1995 and, more importantly, contributes to their financial burden.”
Binay said he welcomes Honrado’s commitment to discuss the issue with airline carriers and refer it to the MIAA board for its favorable approval following the Senate hearing initiated by Senator Nancy Binay and conducted by the Senate Committees on Public Services and Labor on February 9.
Binay had cried foul over the implementation of the circular on the IPSC October last year, saying that while efforts to improve airport service are welcome, changes that entail imposing fees and charges on OFWs should not be done unilaterally.
“I call on the Manila International Airport Authority and the Department of Transportation and Communications to defer the implementation of the IPSC scheme, and seek a dialog with our OFWs and other stakeholders. We owe it to our OFWs to listen to their voices and address their concerns over the IPSC,” said Binay.
“I trust that you will honor your commitment to ensure that we continue to provide necessary assistance to our migrant workers and look forward to your prompt action,” Binay said.