April 26, 2022
The timing of a joint resolution of the POEA and Pag-IBIG for all overseas Filipino workers to submit a Pag-IBIG Membership Identification (MID) and payment of membership contribution a prerequisite to secure the overseas employment certificate (OEC) reeks of Duterte’s desperation to devise another money-making scheme barely a month before the 2022 presidential elections, declared Migrante International.
OFWs have always been the piggy bank of various government agencies through mandatory collections through POEA and OWWA membership, travel insurance, SSS, and PhilHealth, not to mention, medical, training and other processing requirements during the COVID pandemic.
This thick-faced government has the gall to claim that the new policy aims to improve the lives of Filipinos working abroad but in reality “the requirement is meant to ensure “uninterrupted” Pag-IBIG Fund benefits and avoid delays in the processing of loans as well as other claims, according to the two government agencies.”
This is just another mechanism of the Labor Export Program (LEP), the mandatory Pag-IBIG membership only aggravates the current critical condition of Filipinos who are forced to seek overseas employment in order for their families to survive the severe economic crisis brought about by the endless hike in oil price and basic commodities.
For more than decades, the government has not imposed other requirements in securing OEC or Overseas Employment Certificate aside from employment contracts, especially for vacationing OFWs or balik-manggagawa. Suddenly, the government is forcing our OFWs to register their Pag IBIG MID and pay membership fees. This is obviously an open extortion, said Joanna Concepcion, Chairperson of MIGRANTE International.
Ms. Concepcion further said, without an OEC, our OFWs are banned from leaving the country even if they are in possession of all the necessary working and travel requirements set by the host country. Our own government controls our movement, now the government is using the OEC to extract money from our hard-working OFWs. Is this the kind of treatment our OFWs deserved?
The creation of the Department of Migrant Workers is supposed to lessen the burden experienced by our OFWs in working abroad. But what is happening now, seems the opposite. The May 2022 national and local elections are just around the corner and this current administration remains hellbent in squeezing our OFWs with more mandatory fees.
MIGRANTE international will mobilize its chapters in three major global regions and two major countries in North America to protest against this recent mandatory fee and at the same time will revive its call for the abolition of the OEC. We also challenge our Presidentiables to speak against this new mandatory fee and if they are elected, we hope they will provide us with relief and not add more burden to our sufferings. ###