OFW PhilHealth contribution now "voluntary" following opposition
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered to make "voluntary" the payment of Philippine Health Insurance premiums by the overseas Filipino workers, Malacañang said on Monday.
The directive came following the opposition by the OFWs on the supposed increase of their mandatory premium contribution to three percent this year from 2.75 percent last year.
The percentage will rise every year until 2025 where OFWs earning P10,000 to P100,000 a month have to pay five percent of their monthly salary.
"We want to inform you that the President has issued a directive to PhilHealth to make voluntary the payment of PhilHealth premiums by the OFWs," said Roque in a virtual press briefing.
He said the order was in relation to the announcement of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III suspending an item in the implementing rules and regulation of the Universal Healthcare Law that provides for higher contribution while there is still the coronvirus disease crisis.
Roque said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration would no longer require the payment of PhilHealth premiums before the OFWs be issued with the Overseas Employment Certificate in order to be allowed to work abroad.
Roque, who was then a party-list representative and author of the Universal Healthcare Law, said there was nothing in the law that calls for additional PhilHealth premiums for the OFWs.
"It's only provided in the implementing rules and regulation for the information of everyone," he said.
An online petition on Change.org was launched against the PhilHealth move to increase the premium to 3 percent for the OFWs whose monthly income are between P10,000 to P60,000.
Some 300,000 OFWs who signed the petition have said that their jobs were affected by COVID-19 pandemic. Celerina Monte/DMS