Almost P50,000 per year for all mandatary fees for OFWs

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Protest action of several OFW groups against mandatory fees, June 12

Several organizations of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) staged a picket at the ground of the building of the Philippine Consulate today, June 12, calling for the Philippine Government to scrap all the mandatory fees.

The group said that the following mandatory fees will be implemented for all OFWs which will cost each OFW a total of P48,400 or P49,600, or almost P50,000 per year.

  1. PhilHealth Premium Increase (P1,200 per month);
  2. Mandatory Pag-IBIG (P100-200 per month) P1,200 to P2,400;
  3. Mandatory SSS (P2400 per month) P28,000
  4. Expanded Mandatory Insurance (P8,000 per contract/two years) or P4,000 per year;

The PhilHealth contribution premium contribution will increase to 4% of the monthly salary (from the previous year of only 3%) payable on a yearly basis. More than being mandatory to all OFWs, the Pag-IBIG fee, under Republic Act 9679, was also packaged to be a pre-requisite to get OFWs’ OEC, which means OFWs could not get an Overseas Employment Certificate if they cannot show their mandatory payment fee receipt of Pag-IBIG membership.

Last March 13, this year, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who chairs the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), said that the guidelines have been issued implementing DOLE Department Order No. 228, Series of 2021, or the Expanded Compulsory Insurance Coverage for Rehires and Direct Hires.

“The pandemic has left our migrant workers vulnerable to various risks and perils. By expanding the compulsory insurance coverage, we aim to extend the protection to all OFWs, at no cost to our workers,” Bello said.

The insurance policy shall be effective for the duration of the migrant worker’s employment contract and assures coverage in case of death, disability, repatriation, medical emergency, and litigation.

Under the DO, the insurance coverage shall be secured by the recruitment/manning agency at no cost to the OFW, while the expense for the insurance coverage of rehires and direct hires shall be borne by the foreign employers or the workers themselves subject to a full refund upon the first day of the latter’s arrival at the worksite or country of destination. Only reputable private insurance companies duly registered and currently accredited with the Insurance Commission are qualified to provide the insurance coverage.

Dolo Balladares, leader of UNIFIL-Migrante HK, appealed for this insurance to be scrapped on the basis that OFWs in Hong Kong were already covered by the insurance policy once they sign an employment contract with their employers as part of the Hong Kong Government requirements for hiring foreign domestic workers, so, the mandatory insurance is not needed by the OFWs in Hong Kong.

The OFWs groups claimed that the Philippine Government made them as if they are the milking cows for years. Groups said they were mandated to pay several fees without consultation while they were working abroad away from their families, and some of them are suffering from loneliness and abuse while working abroad.