Monday, April 04, 2011

Philippine Travel Tax

I know there's no escaping tax and I accept it. But what I couldn't accept was how long we'd have to queue to pay for travel tax at NAIA 3 and that I'd have to pay PhP 200.00 for processing fee for our 18 month old (more on this later)!

Travel tax Counter at NAIA 3
The travel tax counter at NAIA 3 where the process of payment is done manually.

I wondered what took my husband so long to pay the travel tax. It turns out that our passports needed to be photocopied, stamped, verified, and I don't know what else they were doing. There were, at the very least, 2 persons who would do the processing of 1 passenger. The first would review the passports, and then would pass it to another for verification/review purposes(?), and again returned back to the first person. In between, passports were photocopied, payments calculated using a calculator, and receipts manually written down, and no computers/printers in place. They could afford a photocopier, why not add these?

Cebu Pacific Check in Counters
I don't get why we couldn't just pay the travel tax while checking in?

Why do passengers have to check in, then go to the travel tax counter to pay tax and then have to go back to the checkin counter afterwards?

euna in a stroller
Euna isn't this well-behaved all the time. She gets antsy easily.

And as it turns out, my husband had to go back to the travel tax counter to get a green slip for Euna which is a document that exempts her from the travel tax since she's still essentially an infant (not yet 2 years of age). From previous international flights last year (and we were out of the country 3x), we never had to pay any travel tax for her. So you can just imagine my surprise when I was asked to pay PhP 200.00 as a processing fee!!! I get it, new administration, new process, but an additional processing fee?!! I had no choice but to pay this amount and the process listed above begins once again.

Our airports is where we make our first impressions and while one doesn't have to pay travel tax until leaving the country, this also forms a tourist's last impression. I could just imagine what sort of image this brings across. I understand the existence of needless manual labor here in the country - because a lot of people need jobs but for me, this isn't the only way to create jobs. I am sure there are other ways we could boost employment in the country - starting with the tourism industry.

There is a movement to improve Philippine airports on facebook. The movement doesn't end with aesthetics. There is a lot of room left for improvement of process. Show your support.



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