Offloaded passengers to receive fare reimbursement
Offloading stories are all over social media, especially on TikTok, giving anxiety to first-time Filipino travelers. There have even been instances where passengers were not allowed to fly out of the country for seemingly unnecessary reasons, such as not having their yearbook on them.
Considering the hard work put into earning money for overseas trips, being offloaded is a nightmare. To aid travelers, the House of Representatives included a special provision in the 2024 National Budget that mandates the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to reimburse offloaded passengers.
Awaiting guidelines for implementation
Image credit: Oleksandr P via Pexels
We can expect to see this new provision implemented soon. As of writing, it only awaits guidelines from the BI, the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission on Audit.
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero advocated for the reimbursement of travel expenses of offloaded Filipino passengers due to prolonged interrogations by immigration officers under the guise of combating human trafficking.
Escudero supported his stance with immigration records, revealing that out of 32,404 Filipinos offloaded in 2022, only 472 were actual victims of human trafficking or illegal recruitment.
Airfare to be reimbursed
Image used for illustrative purposes only.
Image credit: xavier summer via Unsplash
Upon the implementation of this provision, the BI will be obligated to cover the airfare of offloaded passengers, particularly when “prolonged immigration checks” are the cause of delay.
This policy will apply to all overseas-bound Filipino travelers, including Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
Reduced offloading nightmares for Filipinos
With this new policy, we can expect a decrease in offloaded passengers and instances of power-tripping by Philippine immigration employees. Filipino travelers can now look forward to smoother travel experiences when heading overseas!
Cover image adapted from: Oleksandr P via Pexels
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