VP Binay to MIAA: Stop terminal fee integration

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay joined lawmakers in calling for the suspension of a government policy that includes airport terminal fees in plane tickets, citing its impact on migrant Filipino workers.

In a letter made public Tuesday, February 17, Binay asked Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado to stop the integration, which took affect February 1.

The policy affects international passengers exiting through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Overseas Filipino workers (OFW)  are exempted by law from paying terminal fees or the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC). The new IPSC scheme forces them to line up for reimbursement of terminal fees they paid online and abroad. 

MIAA said the integration is meant to ease congestion in NAIA, notorious for traveller complaints and cited among the world's worst airports.

Binay, who is also the presidential adviser on OFW concerns, said he fully understands the objective of promoting "smoother, seamless, convenient, safe and hassle-free travel experience at all our airport terminals." However, he said, the integration adversely affected OFWs' rights under the law.

Protesting OFWs had said their exemption from airport tax payment under the amended Migrant Workers Act is futile if they are made to pay to begin with.

Binay backs this up, saying "the fact of their payment is a violation" of the law and, "more importantly, contributes to their financial burden." 

Heeding calls from pro-OFW groups, the Senate and a House committee passed separate resolutions urging the suspension of the new IPSC scheme.

Alluding to an earlier Senate hearing attended by his daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, the Vice President welcomed Honrado's commitment to refer the issue to the MIAA board.

Honrado told the Senate panel he would not recommend the proposed suspension but will convey it to the MIAA board.

Honrado has yet to receive Binay's letter as of posting time. – Rappler.com