Responsive Ad Slot




Buhay Pinay



Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

OFW protest start of mandatory collection of fees

01 June 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap


Protest started outside the building where the Philippine Consulate is located

Four protesters representing various Filipino community organizations picketed the Philippine Consulate earlier Wednesday, to hit out at the various government fees that were due to be collected starting today.

The protesters who are part of an alliance called Rage (Rise Against Government Exaction), called on the Philippine government to stop compelling all overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to pay the various fees which, if collected altogether, would result in workers paying more than 15% of their monthly salary.


“We are holding this protest because we want our government to know that we are against the mandatory collection of fees,” said Dolores Balladares-Pelaez of United Filipinos – Migrante Hong Kong.

“This is an additional burden on Filipino people. It will not help us, especially during this time of the pandemic.”

Being protested are the mandatory fees to the national health insurer PhilHealth, the government housing arm, Pag-IBIG Fund, a life insurance that they are being compelled to take each time they sign a two-year contract, as well as for the Social Security System.

A poster they held aloft listed their demands as “1) No to mandatory membership to PhilHealth, 2) No to expanded compulsory insurance, 3) No to PhilHealth premium increase 4) Abolish the overseas employment certificate (OEC), 5) No to state exaction, 6) provide free genuine health care for all Filipinos.”

Their demands could not be missed 

Another poster bore the playful but meaningful message: “Hindi dapat sapilitan ang Pag-IBIG” (Pag-IBIG – or love – should not be forced).

Instead of adding to the financial burden of OFWs, the government should give more monetary assistance to them, said the group. They urged that free health care should be given to OFWs and their families as they have propped up the country’s economy for so long.

Most of the fees mentioned were to be collected from the start of this month, although mandatory insurance has already been levied against OFWs about to return to their workplace, after it was tied to the OEC which they need to be able to depart the country.


The two-year premium is pegged at US$113, or about Php6,000.

Officers at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office say OFWs who are applying for OEC could present proof of their employers' insurance coverage for them instead, so they could avoid being charged anew when they get to the Philippines. 

This is despite the Department of Labor and Employment's directive early this year where it is clearly stipulated that the mandatory insurance could only be secured from a list of Philippines-based insurers accredited by the government.

Mandatory Pag-IBIG contribution has also been tied to the OEC by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration effective today, which means a departing worker will need to shell out an additional Php2,400 for every two-year contract.

Playful dig at the mandatory PAG-Ibig contribution

But topping the list of the protested fees is for PhilHealth contribution which for this year is pegged at 4% of each overseas Filipino worker’s monthly salary.

For a foreign domestic worker on minimum wage earning the equivalent of Php30,000 that would mean a levy of Php28,800 per two-year contract.

SSS contributions, which amount to 5% of the worker’s salary, could set back a FDW in Hong Kong at least Php36,000 every two years.

While the fee has long been made compulsory for overseas Filipinos, the government agency has yet to tie up its collection to OEC - but migrant leaders believe this could not be for long.

During the 15-minute picket outside the Consulate office building, Dolores Balladares-Pelaez of United Filipinos-Migrante Hong Kong announced that Consul General Raly Tejada had ignored their request to go up and hand over their petition in person.

The protesters were finally allowed to stage a brief picket in the lobby of the Consulate

This was even after they had taken pains to ensure that only four people joined the picket, in compliance with Hong Kong’s strict anti-pandemic restrictions.

But to their surprise, a junior staff member of the assistance to nationals section told them that they were being given permission to go up to the lift lobby outside the Consulate offices so they could make a symbolic handing over of their petition there.

Also represented in the protest were Gabriela Hong Kong, Cordillera Alliance and Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union.

Don't Miss