OFWs protesting the airport terminal fee integration
MANILA, Philippines — A coalition of overseas Filipino workers and labor rights advocates are urging the Department of Transportation and Communication and the Manila International Airport Authority to heed Congress’ call to suspend the integration of airport terminal fees.
Labor advocate Susan Ople, one of the convenors of the #Noto550 Coalition, welcomed the support of the Senate and the House of Representatives for the OFWs’ sentiments that they continue to be exempted from the terminal fees.
“Twenty senators crossed partisan lines to unite behind the lawful exemptions of OFWs from paying the PhP550 terminal fees. A similar resolution was approved by the House committee on overseas workers affairs. The ball is now clearly on DOTC and MIAA’s court. Millions of OFWs are now awaiting their official response,” Ople said in a statement released Friday, which also thanked Senators Cynthia Villar, Aquilino Pimentel III, Alan Peter Cayetano and Nancy Binay for pushing the resolution signed by 20 senators, including Senate President Franklin M. Drilon.
“IT experts believe it is possible to implement the integration of terminal fees without sacrificing the exemption enjoyed by OFWs for the past 19 years. Meanwhile, we are asking the MIAA to suspend the implementation of its circular because it violates the rights of our OFWs,” the statement quoted Villar as saying.
Both chambers of Congress passed separate resolutions saying the airport terminal fee integration mandated by MIAA Memorandum Circular No. 8 disregards the exemption granted OFWs for the past 19 years by the 1995 Migrant Workers Act as amended by Republic Act No. 10022.
The law exempts overseas workers from paying the travel tax, documentary stamp and airport terminal fee once they present the overseas employment certificate issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
Earlier, Sanlakas Representative Walden Bello, who chairs the House committee on overseas workers affairs, said they may be compelled to sue MIAA general manager Angel Honrado for continuing to implement Order No. 8 despite a pending court case questioning the terminal fee integration.
The Pasay regional trial court earlier found the MIAA order “unenforceable” because the agency has failed to publish the official copy of the memorandum as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and Executive Order No. 292.
The #Noto550 Coalition counts the following:
- Philippine Migrants Rights Watch
- Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute
- Office of Senator Cynthia Villar
- Office of Rep. Roy Señeres (OFW Family party-list)
- Filipino Migrant Workers’ Group
- United Filipino Seafarers
- Daughters of Charity Migrant Workers’ Desk
- Kabalikat ng Migranteng Pilipino Inc.
- Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards Inc.
- Center for Migrant Advocacy Philippines
- Lito Soriano of LBS Recruitment Solutions, Inc.
- Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak ng Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino Inc.
- Filipino Lifeline Inc.
- Former OFW sectoral Representative Omar Fajardo
- Federated Association of Manpower Exporters
- Ang Bagong Bayani OFW Labor Party
- Ang NARS party-list
- Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
- Trade Union Congress of the Philippines
- Patnubay Riyadh
- Kaakbay ng OFW International (Kaakbay party-list)
- Task Force OFW Italy
- Global Asia Alliance
- Philippine Recruitment Agencies Accredited to Saudi Arabia
- Pinoy Tayo Sanman Hong Kong