Monday, May 16, 2016

TIEZA Travel Tax Exemption for Scholarship Grantees

Travel tax is one big Sh*t for Filipino travellers especially when you bought your ticket on Sale only to pay it later for travel tax.

Today I am flying back to Indonesia, and again, as expected, I had to be on a bout defending my rights for exemption.

Among those that are exempted from paying travel tax are scholarship grantees. Unfortunately, nowhere, not even in the TIEZA website, show what documents are necessary to apply for exemption.

On my first flight to Indonesia last August 2015, I was looking for information online for what are the requirements for exemption but are nowhere to be found. I brought with me letters I received from the Indonesian Embassy certifying the grant, the scholarship contract, and even my visa applicaton receipt showing free.

My first flight out was in Terminal 3 and there I was asked to prove that all expenses are shouldered by the scholarship. They were especially particular with the flights, accomdation, etc. Luckily, my scholarship contract detailed all of it. For the flight, I had to print out an email showing they sent me the tickets. I had to walk in to the Cebu Pacific counter and request assistance in printing these screenshots because i did not have them handy (as I said, because none is said on the website and so I did not know what sort of documents to provide).

For this flight returning to Indonesia after 2 weeks off in the Philippines, I brought my receipt (of exemption of the first flight), another copy of the scholarship contract, and the offer letter. I thought having the receipt was more than enough in the sense the receipt shall certify that I have submitted all the necessary documents on my initial flight. 

This time I am flying out of NAIA terminal 1, handed over the documents, and told them I brought these documents (receipt being primary as proof that all necessary documents were already submitted before). The supervisor said that the receipt is nothing. It does not necessarily say that I have submitted all the necessary documents. It just mean, from my understanding of her argument, that the Supervisor where I applied for the exemption, accepted all my documents and trust that it warrants exemption (and she may deem differently).

From the story, it seems everything is really based on the supervisor. This time, she was asking me to prove that this flight is still within the duration of the flight. I showed her my school ID showing that the program is until August 2016. She kept asking me for a registration form and I told her (and as the case is) we don't have the same documents as the universities here. We were never given any registration form. The ID stands for the registration. I pointed her back to the contract stating that the program is August 2016 and she referred back to the offer letter dating June 2015. She was insisting that if we take that as the effective date, that the program shall expire June 2015. Then, I told her, today is May 17, and while it is a few days before, it is still within the duration (even under that assumption). After that, she finally said yes. 

For those scholarship grantees applying for exemption, make sure to be early on the airport as, based on these 2 instances, it seems they will just always turn you away at first. You need to be consistent and give them all your proof (And it is such a shame to think, and i reiterated in the counter, that other people/government would give you money, allowance and it is a shame to give it away to your hand it to your government...) So, for this, allocate a lot of time apart from your regular check in timing needs. 

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