The NAPC Labor calls on PhilHealth to stop the collection of PhilHealth premium contribution and payment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The PhilHealth recently issued PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0014 that details the collection method of premium contributions for overseas Filipinos as provided by the Universal Health Care (UHC) law.
The NAPC Labor reiterates that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of said law was issued with no full consultation with migrant workers. NAPC Labor Sectoral Representative Edwin Bustillos said, “If they were consulted, PhilHealth would have known that OFWs are not self-employed, they have employee-employer relationship. The burden of shouldering the entire 3% is NOT EQUITABLE and JUST. It is also a fact that some OFWs are covered with insurance shouldered by their employers, like in Hongkong. With that, what is the need for PhilHealth then?”
They also raised that the full payment of PhilHealth contribution before the issuance of Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is gratuitous. OFWs must not be penalized if they failed to pay the necessary premiums by compounded interests. This will only cause delay with their deployment because of the requirement to comply, and would exacerbate their already vulnerable condition of having no income in the country.
The NAPC Labor urges the PhilHealth to review and amend the UHC law, except the fund sourcing enumerated in the law, to address the health care issues faced by the marginalized sectors including migrant workers. While it is being reviewed and amended, all premium collections should not be implemented. The government should direct its funds to improving the health care system including universal health care.
The NAPC Labor also calls on the transparency on the use of funds, and put the PhilHealth Board and Officials involve in corruption to justice. Trade union and OFW representatives must be appointed to the PhilHealth Board to ensure that the interests of workers are represented and brought to the decision-makers.
The voices of our OFWs must be heard. The NAPC Labor demands that the government respect, protect and ensure that the rights of the workers are fully recognized and upheld.
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EDWIN A. BUSTILLOS
NAPC-FLMWS Sectoral Representative
MA. LAARNI H. JADLOC
NAPC-FLMWS Focal Person