PAL, CebuPac, other airlines rack up P271M unpaid fines to BI – COA
Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific and other foreign airlines have amassed P270.637 million in uncollected administrative fines for bringing in foreign passengers with improper documentation, according to the Commission on Audit.
In its annual audit report, COA said that the Bureau of Immigration has collected only collected 3.22 percent or P9 million out of the P279.644 million the airlines were supposed to pay from 2013 to 2017.
“Inquiry revealed that administrative fines charged to airline companies for landing undocumented or improperly documented aliens into the country were not immediately collected on the day these are imposed or charged. Collections are made only when concerned airline companies are willing to pay; thus, becomes optional on their part,” COA said.
Under Section 44(c) of the Philippines Immigration Law, airlines bringing in aliens who are not properly documented, “ the pilot, master, agent, owner, or consignee of the vessel or aircraft shall be subject to a fine of five hundred pesos in the case of each person brought.”
The same law states that airlines would not be cleared for departure if they do not pay the fine or submit a deposit as security for the fine.
COA said that as early as 2015, it has advised the BI to collect these fines to maximize collections but officials ignored its recommendation.
COA said that had the BI made the airline companies pay the corresponding fines imposed to them; thus, collections will be maximized and uncollected fines will be reduced, if not eliminated.
BI’s accounting division is currently seeking the advise of its legal division on the issue.