Gulf airlines urged to honor duty-free travel arrangements for overseas Filipino workers

Published March 6th, 2017 - 08:00 GMT
Travel tax and terminal fees are being included in the cost of the airline tickets issued to overseas filipino workers, who cannot always be refunded at departure. (Shutterstock)
Travel tax and terminal fees are being included in the cost of the airline tickets issued to overseas filipino workers, who cannot always be refunded at departure. (Shutterstock)

Airlines from the Gulf and other regions have been urged to stop collecting aviation charges from Filipino expatriates.

The Philippines’ Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III has ordered several carriers including Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways,  Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Gulf Air and Saudia Airlines,  among many others, to cease and desist from incorporating the cost of travel tax and terminal fees in their tickets issued to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The official has recently sent a letter to various carriers to remind them of existing legislations that exempt travelling expatriate workers from paying extra fees.

The exemptions are spelled out in Presidential Decree No. 1183 and Republic Act (RA) No. 8042, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, as amended by RA No 100022.

 “It has come to my attention that the travel tax and terminal fees are being included in the cost of the airline tickets issued to our OFWs,” said Bello in his letter to the carriers.

“While some OFWs were refunded of these fees at the airport prior to their departure, most of them, however, were not refunded because of lack of awareness about this privilege or lack of time to process their claim for refund,” said Bello.

The letter, which was also sent to Jim Sydiongco, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP),  urged the government body to remit the travel tax and terminal fees which were not refunded to the OFWs to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached agency of the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE).

“Considering that the inclusion of these travel tax and terminal fees in the cost of tickets has been a practice of airline companies for several years, we request that the travel tax and fees collected from our OFWs which were not refunded to them be remitted to the OWWA,” said Bello.

The letter was also addressed to Air Asia, Air Asia Zest, Air China, Air Niugini, All Nippon Airways, Aiana Airline, Cebu Pacific Air, China Airline, China Eastern Airline, China Southern Airlines, Delta Air , Dragon Air, Ethiopian Airline,  Eva Air,  Japan Airlines,  Jeju Air, Jet Star Asia, Jin Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Mandarine Airlines, Oman Air, PAL Express, Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airlines, Royal Brunei, Skyjet, Singapore Airlines, Silk Air,  Thai Airways, Tiger Air, Tiger Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.

By Cleofe Maceda 
 

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