Press Release
April 29, 2015

Senate asks Ombudsman to compel MIAA to recall order charging
terminal fees against OFWs; says law is supreme over mere directive

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said the Senate has asked the Ombudsman to compel Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to recall its order integrating terminal fees in airline tickets purchased online or abroad.

He said the petition to recall the controversial order was made to exempt travelling Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and other persons exempted by law from what they called as "unlawful and unjust" order.

It was signed by Pimentel and Sen. Cynthia Villar and 20 stakeholders, representing the OFWs, Muslim pilgrims, national athletes and persons exempted by the Office of the President.

"Our OFWs are our modern-day heroes, but they are made to unjustly pay the terminal fees when they are exempted by law," said Pimentel.

He assailed the continued refusal of the MIAA to lift its memorandum circular on airline companies and travel agencies despite legal issues surrounding its issuance.

He said the exemption of OFWs is recognition of their invaluable contribution to the economy and the country as a whole.

"MIAA should not be allowed to trample on the statutory right of our OFWs to exemption. After all, the law is supreme over a mere administrative issuance," said Pimentel.

Earlier, the Senate adopted a resolution strongly urging MIAA to recall the order until after an appropriate computer system that will automatically exempt OFWs and other exempted persons is put into operation.

But the voice of the senators fell on deaf ears.

That forced the Senate to conduct an inquiry where it was established that MIAA issued the circular without knowing the data on the number of OFWs that would be affected.

It was also discovered that the issuance was made without the requisite authority and publication to inform the public on the new directive as required by law.

"For what we believe is an abuse on the part of the MIAA, we are respectfully invoking the corrective hand of the Ombudsman to order MIAA to recall its unlawful and unjust MC 08 s. 2014," Pimentel cited the resolution.

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