Binay asks BoC to junk plan for more airport departure fees PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 November 2010 10:46

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay wants to rein in plans of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to charge departure fees of at least one US dollar, saying this will unduly burden overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Records of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicate that an average of 4,000 OFWs leave the country daily.

Binay is the concurrent Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns .

The fee of one or two US dollar would go to the overtime pay of BoC employees, according to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) being proposed with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Bureau of Immigration and other concerned agencies.

After getting wind of the proposed MOU, Binay wrote Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez that he is bothered by the plan as OFWs make up a large number of departing airline passengers from NAIA.

“If your plan indeed covers OFWs, then I urge you to seriously reconsider,” Binay wrote. The OFW adviser urged the BoC to address its overtime problems without passing the costs on to OFWs.

Short of citing the BOC proposal as contrary to law, Binay cited legal provisions and government policies disallowing the undue burdening of OFWs, mentioning , among others, their exemptions from payments of documentary and travel taxes under Section 22 of Republic Act 10022 on migrant workers

“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 of entitlement by the POEA,” the Act said.

Binay also cited Section 36 of RA 8042 and Section 4 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act provides for the non-increase of fees.

Section 36 of RA 8042 says that “upon approval of this Act, all fees being charged by any government office on migrant workers shall remain at their present levels and the repatriation bond shall be abolished.”

Section 4 of the Omnibus Rules, meanwhile, says, “All fees for services being charged by any government agency on migrant workers prevailing at the time of the effectivity of this Rule shall not be increased.”

“All other services rendered by the DOLE and other government agencies in connection with the recruitment and placement of and assistance to migrant workers shall be rendered free. The administrative cost thereof shall not be borne by the worker.”