OFWs launch global protest vs PhilHealth premium hike
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino overseas workers will launch a united campaign using the power of social media to protest Philhealth’s premium increase on the contribution of OFWs.
The campaign dubbed as “Global Webwide Protest to Stop Philhealth Increase” will run from July 20-25 in different social media platforms.
The online protest was initiated by Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards (PEBA) founding president Kenji Solis, who is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“Through its Facebook page Global OFW Voices, the voices of more than 10,000 OFWs, is being mobilized to stage synchronize protest on the different social media platforms of Philhealth, government officials including the President PNOY and other government agencies to air a unified message against the increase,” the group said.
The online campaign now has a following from 67 countries. Majority are OFWs from the Middle East or Gulf countries, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong.
The Philhealth Board recently issued Circular No.022 imposing a 150% hike in health premium for OFW members from P900 to P2, 400
“OFWs find this increase extremely exorbitant and inconsiderate because not many of OFWs were consulted,” the group said.
PhilHealth decided to defer the implementation of the new premium until 2013 “in light of the global crisis which has resulted to the repatriation of a lot of OFWs”.
“PhilHealth should be more sympathetic to OFWs who are earning meager salary like domestic helpers, laborers, janitors, food servers, or those categorized as unskilled workers who find the increase as an added burden to pay before they leave abroad,” added the group.
The group maintains that the increase is a direct violation of the Republic Act 10022 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 which “prohibits increase in government fees for services rendered to OFWs and their dependents.”
“It is unfair for OFWs to be treated as revenue mill or as government’s milking cow. With their dollar remittances that keep the Philippine economy afloat including the strengthening of peso against the dollar, it is unfortunate that the government continue to levy additional fees on this sector,” they said.