When airlines started charging the airport fees at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Philippines, this was met with protest from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are supposed to be exempted from paying such fees.
After OFW representatives met with the government, it was announced that OFWs can readily get their refund at the airport, after presenting the necessary documents that will prove they are OFWs and not tourists.
While that is certainly good news, the bad news is that many OFWs didn’t bother processing the refund at the airport for various reasons, including not wanting to spend a lot of time at the airport so they can meet their families more quickly!
After all, most of these OFWs had spent years in foreign lands – the last thing they want is to get stuck at the airport for a longer time, because they still have to queue at the counter processing the refunds.
OFWs Have 5 Years to Get Refund
While the integration of terminal fees [charged as Passenger Service Charge (PSC)]started on August 1, 2012 for domestic flights, international flights had followed suit starting February 1, 2015.
Now, it was in 2014 that the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) began collecting the integrated terminal fees which amounted to Php550; however, thousands of OFWs didn’t bother to get their refund.
According to Gulf News, Cebu Pacific announced, “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.”
Who Can Get the Refund?
According to the news article, MIAA Media Affairs head Jess Martinez announced that passengers can collect the refund at their convenient time.
It was also announced that OFWs have up to 5 years to process and receive the refund.
“Passengers can [get a] refund [of] their terminal fees any day they can, even after five years,” Martinez said.
Cebu Pacific further announced that passengers can still collect their refund if their tickets were dated from February 1, 2015 to April 30, 2018.
Recently, it was announced that all airlines with flights to and from NAIA have updated their booking systems to allow OFWs to get an automatic exemption upon booking. The system had already been in place starting April 2018 for hotline and website transactions but recently updated to include app bookings using smartphones.