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OFWs have 5 years to get airport terminal fee refund

Millions of unrefunded terminal fees are being held by government

Manila: Overseas Filipino workers and other special category passengers have five years to collect unrefunded passenger service fees, officials said.

According Jess Martinez, head of the media affairs of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), passengers, particularly of the carrier, Cebu Pacific, can at any time collect their “unrefunded” Passenger Service Charge (PSC), more commonly known as terminal fee.

The PSC was first integrated into airline tickets for domestic flights on August 1, 2012 while international PSC integration followed on February 1, 2015.

On March 2017, MIAA general manager Ed Monreal announced that terminal fees for overseas Filipino workers and certain other special category passengers such as diplomats and athletes would formally be waived as part of efforts to streamline airport charges that had been debated as early as three years ago.

The MIAA started collecting an integrated airport terminal fee amounting to P550 (Dh37.82) in 2014.

However, OFW groups such as the #NoTo550 Coalition opposed the move and cited the Migrant Workers’ Act of 1995 that directs that the fee should be waived upon presenting an overseas employment certificate (OEC).

OFWs, nevertheless, had no choice but to pay for the IPSC as it was already integrated into their plane tickets.

According to Cebu Pacific, passengers can collect refunds if their tickets are dated from February 1, 2015 to April 30, 2018.

“Passengers can [get a] refund [of] their terminal fees any day they can, even after five years,” Martinez was quoted in the state-run Philippine News Agency as saying.

Cebu Pacific and Cebgo remitted 245.61 million pesos (Dh16,888,310) in unrefunded terminal fees to the MIAA.

“The amount covers unrefunded terminal fees of approximately 212,100 international passengers who travelled during the period 1 February 2015 to 30 April 2018 and 892,800 domestic passengers who travelled for the period 1 August 2012 to 30 April 2018,” the carrier said.

“We thank Cebu Pacific and Cebgo for taking the lead on this. I am confident that the rest [will] follow soon,” said Monreal.

Under the Memorandum of Agreement and Implementing Guidelines for the PSC Integration Project, air carriers are required to remit their collections based on flown passengers.

Flown passengers mean actual number of passengers who boarded the flight.

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