MANILA - A coalition of overseas Filipino organizations and advocates on Friday called on all OFWs around the world to make a united stand against the move to integrate the airport terminal fee in all air tickets on February 1.
"Respect the law. That is all we ask," the group belonging to Coalition #No to 550 stated in their petition paper.
In a press conference in Manila, coalition members urged the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to put on hold the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) scheme or the terminal fee integration until it can come up with a fair and lawful scheme that would honor the exemption granted to OFWs by law.
They call on all OFws to:
1. Write to or seek a dialogue with embassy officials to express their objections to the terminal fee integration;
2. Use their Facebook accounts and other social media platforms to convey their objections using #Noto550 as unifyung hashtag;
3. Turn their profile photos into black on February 1, the date of the IPSC implementation;
4. Join, support or duplicate the Coalition's campaign against the IPSC in their respective areas by spreading the word about the MIAA's new policy that would favor foreign airlines over the rights and welfare of OFWs.
“We feel that government is forcing our backs against the wall with this new scheme. MIAA is set to implement this on Sunday without even an education campaign to inform our OFWs about it. Why the haste, General Honrado?” the group said.
The coalition is set to hold a rally in Mendiola to call attention to what they describe as MIAA and DOTC's "utter disregard for the sentiments of the OFWs".
Likewise, the group also urged Pasay City RTC Branch 109 to issue a decision on the OFW sector’s motion for a permanent injunction against the IPSC.
Under the IPSC, OFWs who purchase their tickets online or abroad would have to pay the integrated terminal fee then line up upon their return to the country at any of the NAIA terminals to claim a refund.
“They are modifying or amending the law via a mere memorandum circular. What is alarming is MIAA’s insistence to implement the terminal fee integration by February 1 despite an ongoing court case wherein the judge has yet to issue a decision,” the OFW groups stressed.