OFWs exempted from travel taxes, terminal fees

Labor Attache Felicitas Q. Bay, POLO Dubai

DUBAI – Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) may now refund the amount of tax and terminal fees allotted in their flight tickets as they are exempted from it, an official from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Dubai confirmed.

New Labor Attache Felicitas Q. Bay said that the Presidential Decree No. 1183 and Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, amended by R.A. No. 10022, are not new thing.

“Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III simply reiterated the law. It has been there for quite a while and not many people are aware of it,” she told Kabayan Weekly.

Under Section 22 in R.A. 10022, it stated “Section 35 of Republic Act No. 8042, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows: SEC 35. Exemption from Travel Tax Documentary Stamp and Airport Fee. – All laws to the contrary notwithstanding, the migrant workers shall be exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport-fee upon proper showing of proof entitlement by the POEA.

“The remittances of all overseas Filipino workers, upon showing of the same proof of entitlement by the overseas Filipino worker’s beneficiary or recipient, shall be exempt from the payment of documentary stamp tax,” it concluded.

The labor attache, who was previously posted in South Korea from 2010 to 2016, said that the law was under the Department of Transportation and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and not POLO. However, Bello only reiterated the law to remind the mindful agencies and the OFWs that such law was present.

Bay mentioned that this was why Bello sent a letter to the CAAP officials aside from the airline companies about the law. He requested CAAP to remit the travel tax and terminal fees which were not refunded to the OFWs to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

In his letter, he also instructed POEA and OWWA to coordinate with CAAP and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) of implementing a system where there’s an automatic OFWs exemption in paying the travel tax and terminal fees.

Among the many flight carriers that the official had reached out to, Emirates Airlines had given a response of heeding the official’s request.

“Emirates complies with all relevant legislation within the Philippines. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who book flights with Emirates, and hold a valid OEC [Overseas Employment Certificate] are entitled to a Philippine travel tax and terminal fees exemption, which is processed at the time of ticketing or can be claimed at the airport prior to departure,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying in a report.

However, it was not stated in the report whether the response was effective immediately. For her part, Bay was happy with the news and hoped that other airline companies would follow it too for the benefit of the OFWs.

According to the report, OFWs flying through Emirates Airlines can save up to AED 200 per passenger. They would be exempted to pay the travel tax worth AED 118 (PHP1,620) for an economy class passenger, and an airport fee of AED 55 (PHP750)

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