DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are sending letters to CAAP and airline firms to reiterate their earlier requests to refund the fee and turn over some PHP500 million worth of terminal taxes collected from OFWs since 2015 to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the trustee of Filipinos working abroad.
“By law they are exempted from these fees,” he said in a press conference on Monday,
“They just present their working visa and Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for them to be exempted,” the DOLE chief added.
He noted that they have requested for the exemption of OFWs from paying the said fees, as early as last year.
“I’m wondering why until now they continue to collect. In fact, a year ago already we’ve sent a letter that they should not collect. That is illegal exaction. They may be criminally liable, so we are writing them again to remind of the exemption of our OFWs,” Bello said.
“Aside from that may exemption OFWs they are exempted from travel tax. The airlines continue to charge our OFWs travel tax. Again, that is an illegal exaction. We are writing today all the airlines to refrain from collecting travel tax for OFWs,” he added.
Bello said there are some OFWs who are too excited to go to their place of work or have no energy to fall in line to get their refund why the fees have accumulated.
“For those OFWs who paid the terminal fee, they are entitled to refund, but they are so excited to go to their place of deployment or they have no more energy to line up for the refund. It has already accumulated. That's the PHP500 million I'm talking about,” he said.