'Waive fees of Yolanda-affected OFWs, seafarers'

Posted at 03/04/2014 9:27 PM

MANILA – Representatives of Gabriela party-list have filed a resolution seeking to waive the required fees of land- and sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from provinces devastated by calamities.

Reps. Emmi De Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan filed House Resolution 697, urging the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs to direct the Philippine Overseas and Employment Agency (POEA) and related agencies to waive for a year the collection of fees of processing, membership, Medicare, seafarer’s registration certificate and seaman’s book of OFWs and Seamen from provinces affected by typhoon Santi, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, and super typhoon Yolanda.

"These fees pose an additional burden to the calamity survivors who are in the process of rebuilding their lives. Much has been said about the survivors of last year’s calamities and it is about time the government further extends a hand to help them rebuild their lives," Ilagan said.

Ilagan said the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), an attached agency of the Office of the President (OP), collects fees like Seafarer’s Registration Certificate (SRC) at P50 for new registrants and P150 for lost SRCs.

"MARINA also collects P800 for the three-day processing or P1,500 for one day processing of the Seaman’s Book," Ilagan said.

Ilagan said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), attached to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), also collects $25 contribution upon enrollment from OFWs for insurance, health care, loan guarantee, education and training, social services and family welfare assistance.

"For an OFW to be issued an Overseas Employment Certification, a processing fee of $100 or its peso equivalent, OWWA membership fee of US$25 or its peso equivalent and OWWA Medicare of P900 are to be paid," Ilagan said.

Last October 2013, typhoon Santi devastated and submerged Tarlac, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales La Union, Quirino and Aurora provinces killing 13 persons and damaging agriculture estimated at P3 billion.

That same month, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc on the Visayas Region, particularly Bohol and Cebu, leaving 222 dead, 8 missing, and 976 injured.

De Jesus said super Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the 44 provinces of Regions IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII, X, XI and Caraga affecting 16,078,181 individuals, leaving millions homeless and displaced. Over 6,000 were reported dead while more than a thousand remains missing.