MIAA: OFWs can refund terminal fees

Aika Rey
The Manila International Airport Authority says the fees remain intact in a trust account, ready to be claimed as refunds

REFUND. The Manila International Airport Authority says overseas Filipino workers can refund terminal fees paid to airlines. AFP file photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can claim their terminal fees paid to airlines, amid calls for a refund.

In a statement on Wednesday, November 7, MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said domestic and international terminal fees at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) amounting to a total of P277.65 million remain intact. The amount includes refunds for non-OFWs’ unused tickets.

“The amount is kept by MIAA in a trust account and is distinct and separate from the agency’s corporate funds. The money does not belong to MIAA. It will remain in the trust account until fully refunded to the passengers who own them,” Monreal said.

Of the total, domestic terminal fees remitted by Cebu Pacific and CebGo amount to P172.33 million, while some P105.32 million were remitted by 18 international airlines.

MIAA said OFWs need to present a copy of their overseas employment certificate and their airline ticket for a refund.

Non-OFWs with unused airline tickets may get a terminal fee refund by showing their proof of purchase and certification from the airline that they were not able to take their flights.

The terminal fees can be redeemed at the designated counter at the departure area.

‘Transfer to OWWA’

Senator Grace Poe and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III called for the refund, in light of the planned NAIA terminal fee hike.

Bello said on Monday, November 5, that they wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to turn over the terminal fee collection to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) instead.

“Our letter includes our request for CAAP to turn over their collection and they should remit it to OWWA as the trustee of the OFWs. ‘Yan ang hinihintay namin na gagawin ng CAAP (That’s what we’re waiting for CAAP to do),” Bello said.

Monreal said on Wednesday that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade already ordered him to transfer the funds to the appropriate agency, “if directed by the authority vested with the mandate to decide on the matter.”

Rappler reached out to Monreal to clarify which agency has the authority, but he has yet to reply as of posting.

Starting April 30, 2017, OFWs have been exempt from terminal fees for face-to-face ticket purchases, and since the end of July 2017 for online ticket purchases. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.