May 30, 2022
An act expanding the coverage of compulsory insurance of overseas Filipino workers is scheduled today for a third reading at the House of Representatives, further amending Republic Act No. 10022. Indeed, OFWs shall remember Duterte’s legacy of imposing unjust financial burdens in the form of mandatory state exactions until the last days of his rule.
This greedy and tyrannical president simply ignores the desperate conditions of Filipinos whose only choice for economic survival is to seek employment abroad. Duterte took advantage of their miserable situation in his final six months by imposing mandatory fees for Pag-ibig, SSS, Philhealth premium increase, and now an expanded compulsory insurance. Despite any provisions indicating employer’s responsibility to pay for these fees, countless OFWs know too well that this eventually gets passed on to them in the form of salary deduction among others.
Filipino migrant workers have repeatedly denounced any form of mandatory fees since the first time it was implemented under the dictator Marcos Sr., and have raised the redundancy of collecting mandatory insurance contributions. Majority of OFWs who have been OWWA members for decades have not availed benefits from this government agency since their membership expires when their employment ends. This was experienced by many distressed workers affected by the COVID pandemic. Meanwhile POEA, collects US$100 mandatory membership from every deployed Filipino overseas, while thousands of victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking are still waiting for justice to be served on their cases.
As the country faces a 13 trillion pesos debt, half of which occurred under the Duterte administration, there is no doubt that the labor and sacrifices of overseas Filipinos will continue to be agressively exploited. Certainly, labour export has become the Philippine government’s solution to economic crises since the Marcos dictatorship in 1972 and it has continued until Duterte’s reign. Filipinos have become the pawns of corrupt government officials who praise OFWs as “economic heroes” and yet adopt and support policies that bleed their hard earned money dry, leaving thousands of distressed and repatriated without comprehensive assistance and support.
President-Elect Marcos Jr. has yet to take office and our migrant workers are already slapped with a long list of burdensome fees. We expect Marcos Jr. to continue his father’s and Duterte’s legacy of labor export that will continue to treat our migrant workers as commodities in order to gain profit from their remittances and mandatory fee collections. But just as our migrant workers have successfully resisted and took collective action during the Marcos dictatorship, we will be unrelenting in demanding an end to all forms of mandatory fees and government exactions under the guise of protection in the Marcos Jr. administration.
Reject compulsory insurance!
Stop mandatory government exactions!