Clarification on the issue regarding Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello’s call for the agency to return the terminal fees and travel taxes collected from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) has been made by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Bello had reportedly sent letters to CAAP to reiterate his request to refund some P500 million worth of terminal fees and travel taxes collected from the OFWs since 2015.
The law states that migrant workers and OFWs registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) are exempt from paying travel tax and airport fee.
CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday, November 6, that the agency is not the only entity responsible for collecting the said fees from OFWs, since CAAP operates only seven international airports.
“Among the seven international airports that CAAP manages, it is only via the Davao International Airport, where the OFWs pass through. This airport does not charge terminal fees for OFWs,” Apolonio said.
The six other airports are in General Santos, Puerto Princesa, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Kalibo, and Laoag.
Apolonio noted that these airports are being used mostly by tourists, and not by the OFWs.
According to him, the bulk of what Bello was requesting to be refunded is not under CAAP’s jurisdiction.
“Majority of the OFWs use the airports in Manila (NAIA), Cebu, and Clark. These other airports have their own mandates,” he said.
Apolonio also said that travel tax is normally included in the ticket — this is how the airline would know if the passenger is an OFW or not when he or she books the ticket.
He said CAAP could not comment on the issue regarding travel taxes collected from the OFWs.
“The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) collects travel taxes,” he said.