Returning OFWs exempted from paying airport terminal fees starting March 2017

MANILA — Returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), whose tickets were purchased abroad, will be exempted from paying airport terminal fees starting March 2017.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said airlines have agreed to automatically relieve OFWs who purchased their return tickets to the Philippines abroad from paying terminal fee.

At present, the PHP 500 terminal fee of returning OFWs are integrated with their ticket fee and is refunded through MIAA refund counters in Philippine airports, which cause inconvenience to OFWs.

“Airlines have already agreed in principle, so, hopefully by March 2017, OFWs will now be exempted from paying terminal fee,” Monreal said during the “Kapihan sa Manila Hotel” organized by Samahang Plaridel Monday morning.

He explained that the exemption will be implemented by March next year in order to give time for airlines to update their systems and programs for this policy.

This development came amid other accomplishments of the DOTr in the aviation sector.

Among these achievements is the enforcement of a slot management system to ensure that flight departures are on time. The system has improved the on-time performance of airlines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from 47 percent to 71 percent since the new administration took over.

The MIAA is also coordinating with Villamor Air Base to allow vehicles to pass through especially along Andrews Avenue to address traffic congestion in the airports. A two-minute waiting time is also being implemented for people welcoming and sending off passengers at the airport.

Capt. Jim Sydiongco, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, also reported the addition of Legzapi, Butuan, Dumaguete, and Caticlan airports to the country’s night-rated airports. Roxas airport will also be able to accommodate evening flights before Christmas.

Meanwhile, DOTr officials also reiterated the need for emergency powers to implement further improvements in the transportation sector.

DOTr spokesperson Cherie Mercado assured the public that the emergency powers will expedite the implementation of vital infrastructure projects and will not be abused.

“Emergency Powers was proposed to get projects moving fast. We have safeguards such as Congress oversight, TROs/injunctions to be filed only in the Supreme Court, and its compliance with the FOI,” Mercado said.

She also guaranteed that the department led by Secretary Arthur Tugade continues to perform while waiting for the emergency powers to be granted.

“Sec. Tugade works hard with no need of any fanfare. He is a man of accomplishments. He’s impatient for accomplishments, but he’s also a man of transparency,” Mercado added. Aerol Patena/

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