Great news for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) working in Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC)! The Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III has reminded airlines in the region that OFWs do not have to pay travel tax and terminal fees. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman make up the GCC.
The reminder is in line with the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 which states that “the migrant worker shall be exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport fee upon proper showing of proof of entitlement by the POEA.”
At present, OFWs can redeem an amount of P55o as a terminal fee refund before their departure. To get their reimbursement, OFWs need to line up at the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) refund counter. They then have to present their electronic ticket, boarding pass, and passport.
However, OFWs often have little to no time to take care of this as they catch their flights. Worse, some of them aren’t aware that they can refund their terminal fees.
MIAA general manager Ed Monreal announced the exemption last November 2016. However, it only took effect this March 2017. In an interview with the Philippine Star, Monreal said that they had more than a billion pesos worth of airport terminal fees. At the time, half of the amount remained unclaimed by OFWs.
Additionally, Bello instructed Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco to report unsuccessfully refunded terminal fees to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).