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Unifil hits Duterte over 50% hike in mandatory Philhealth premium

17 October 2019

OFWs will pay Php3,600 in annua Philhealth contributions from next year

By The SUN

Overseas Filipino workers will see their annual contribution to Philhealth rising by 50% by next year under the new law known as the Universal Health Care Act. From the current annual rate of Php2,400 OFWs will pay Php3,600 in 2020, and up to Php6,000 by 2024.

In addition, OFWs will be required to pay their Philhealth dues before they can obtain an overseas employment certificate, or OEC.

Militant Filipino workers in Hong Kong blasted the new imposition, saying it indicates anew that President Rodrigo Duterte is anti OFW.

Under the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 11223, the  Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is mandated to ensure new hires or returning land-based OFWs pay PhilHealth premiums before they are given OEC.
“This is utterly outrageous! The compulsory SSS contribution is already a prerequisite to obtaining the OEC; why should the PhilHealth contribution be an additional step? This is the height of greed,”  Dolores Balladares Pelaez, chairperson of United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil-Migrante HK), said in a press release on Oct 17.

“Duterte’s state exactions never end. Weighed down by the current crisis in Hong Kong, OFWs' woes are aggravated by the looming PhilHealth mandatory extortion,” she said.

She said that instead of providing health care protection to OFWs who are suffering from severe afflictions due to their slave-like working conditions, insufficient food, and other stressful factors, the Duterte government is imposing more mandatory monetary burden.

Dolo Balladares Pelaez: "Enough is enough!"

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Apart from the yearly increase in premiums, Philhealth will also raise the income cap of contributors.
By 2024, the income ceiling would be Php100,000 a month. Anyone earning that much would need to shell out an annual premium of Php60,000.

Balladares Pelaez said once again, Duterte shows how anti-OFWs he is. “He doesn’t care where we get the money to pay for these exorbitant fees; what matters to him is the big collections that his department can get,” she said. 

The Unifil leader said that instead of squeezing OFWs, the government should have its Universal Health Care program subsidized by the  Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s remittances, and shares from sin tax revenues.

“OFWs have long been victimized by government agencies’ money-making schemes and false promises of health care benefits,” Balladares Pelaez said.

“Enough is enough! We shall struggle against Duterte’s PhilHealth and other mandatory state exactions and all other forms of abuses and exploitation,” she concluded.

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