OFWs balk at new compulsory insurance policy

Global alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Migrante International today expressed strong opposition to the newly-imposed mandatory health insurance as stipulated in the amended Republic Act 10022 or the Migrants Act.

Accordingly, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) recently released Memorandum Circular No. 09 Series of 2010 last October 21, 2010 ordering the implementation of  “compulsory insurance coverage for agency-hired OFWs,” land-based or sea-based.

The mandatory insurance will be covered by a private insurance provider duly-licensed and certified by the Insurance Commission.

According to Migrante International Secretary-General Gina Esguerra, “We are opposed to this new scheme. Maganda nga sana kung gobyerno ang kakargo dito, kung manggagalingg mismo sa subsidyo ng gobyerno ang serbisyo. Ang kaso, negosyo na naman itong pinasok ng gobyerno na walang ibang huhuthutan ng kita kundi ang ating mga OFW.”

Esguerra said that while it is specified in the policy that it is the recruitment/manning agency or the foreign principal/employer who shall pay the cost of the insurance coverage, “there is no guarantee that the added cost will not be transferred to our OFWs via placement fees and other exactions.”

“Furthermore, how can the government compel employers to pay for this? What mechanism is at hand to thoroughly monitor its implementation and sanction those who will violate? Kung sweldo nga minsan hindi ibinibigay sa mga OFW ito pa kayang dagdag-bayarin din para sa mga employer?”

Lastly, Esguerra said that the new mandatory imposition is “redundant”.

Antemano, nagbabayad na ang mga OFW ng Philhealth at OWWA membership na pawang covered na dapat ang mga serbisyong covered din nitong bagong insurance na ito. Mayroon ding dapat na nakalaang pondo ang gobyerno para sa iba pang mga serbiyong covered nito, tulad ng repatriation, settlement claims at iba pa.”

“So we really do not see the rhyme and reason in this new mandatory policy apart from money-making and the government washing its hands off its responsibilities to our OFWs,” she said. ###