Terminal fee integration will benefit 5.6M fliers–MIAA
MANILA, Philippines–Once the terminal fee has been integrated in international airfare tickets, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) estimates that about 5.6 million passengers departing annually from the four major airport terminals in Manila will not anymore line up to pay for the fee.
During a preliminary injunction hearing on Monday at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 109, MIAA finance manager Irene Montalbo said the move would surely decongest the airports of passengers queuing just to pay for the terminal fee.
The integration of the fee was supposed to have started last Nov. 1 but Pasay RTC Judge Tingaraan Guiling issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) a day before its implementation after overseas Filipino worker (OFW) groups led by OFW Family Partylist Rep. Roy Seneres filed a petition seeking for TRO and preliminary injunction/status quo ante order, saying the implementation of Memorandum Circular No. 8 series of 2014 violates their right to be exempted from the terminal fee payment. Listed as respondents were Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and MIAA General Manager Angel Honrado.
However, the MIAA earlier said that OFWs, Muslim pilgrims endorsed by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, athletes endorsed by the Philippine Sports Commission and those authorized by the Office of the President are still exempted from payment of the terminal fee upon the presentation of the overseas employment certificate issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
But for those who purchased tickets online and abroad, the MIAA said they could refund the fee upon presentation of necessary documents at the airport.
Appearing as witness for the respondents, Montalbo said that last year, the MIAA estimated that more than 7 million passengers departed from the four major airports, but only about 2 million were exempted from the terminal fee payment.
“With its implementation, we can do away with having about 5 million passengers line up at airport terminals just to pay the terminal fee,” Montalbo added.
One of the petitioners, Edward Era, who also took the witness stand, voiced out his apprehensions on the terminal fee integration, saying that migrant workers who purchased tickets online or those with employers who just send them e-tickets would still be forced to pay the terminal fee despite the exemption.
“We still have to fall in line just to refund the terminal fee and how long will it take for the money to be given back to us,” Era added.
Guiling is expected to release his decision on the petition for preliminary injunction on Wednesday.
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