MIGRANTE International submits petition against mandatory Philhealth contribution to COWA

PRESS RELEASE

AUGUST 27, 2022

A petition signifying strong opposition against the mandatory Philhealth contribution and premium increase for migrant workers, signed by more than 5,000 OFWs and family members of OFWs both land and sea-based was submitted to the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) Organizational Meeting held at the House of Representatives on 23 August this year.

On June 1 this year, Philhealth increased the monthly premium to 4% requiring OFWs to pay an estimated P9,600 up to P38,400 each year. This will cause a significant financial burden on top of the fees each OFW has to pay for passport, Overseas Employment Certificate, OWWA Membership Fee, POEA processing fee, including the mandatory SSS and Pag-Ibig, especially during a time when thousands of our migrants continue to be impacted by the pandemic, low wages and the rising cost of basic goods and services. 

Migrante International attests that Philhealth coverage does not extend overseas in the event that OFWs need medical care and health services while employed abroad. As a matter of fact, many OFWs are already covered by health insurance programs in their host country. 

In 2020, more than half a million OFWs across the world expressed their collective outrage at the mandatory Philhealth policy, forcing President Duterte to order Philhealth to suspend the collection of the mandatory premiums for OFWs. 

We call on the administration of President Marcos Jr. including Sec Susan Ople of the Department of Migrant Workers and the Representatives of Congress particularly the House Committee on Migrant Workers Affairs to take the necessary steps to address this unjust policy and seriously listen to the growing clamor of our migrant workers. We believe healthcare is a human right and not a commodity to be profited from. If the government truly cares for the health and well-being of its OFWs then healthcare and social services should be fully provided for free by the government. ##