MANILA – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Tuesday said it did not issue an order requiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to pay Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) premium first before they can get copies of their overseas employment certificates (OECs).
“The POEA hereby informs the public that since the passage of Republic Act 11223, otherwise known as the Philippine Universal Health Care Act, the POEA Governing Board, a tripartite policymaking body with DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III as its Chairperson, has not passed a resolution that authorizes the POEA to require OFWs to pay Philhealth premium in their application for the issuance of OECS,” POEA chief Bernard Olalia said in an advisory.
Olalia guaranteed that their action is consistent with the order of the government.
“As such, the public is assured that POEA systems and processes on the issuance of OECs are currently not linked with that of the PhilHealth, and is consistent with the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to ease OFWs of an additional burden by suspending the collection of higher premiums from OFWs,” he added.
On Monday, the President ordered the state health insurance firm to make premium payments for OFWs voluntary.
On Feb. 20, 2019, Duterte signed the Universal Healthcare Law which sets mandatory coverage to all Filipinos under the country’s national health insurance program including OFWs.
OFWs opposed PhilHealth Circular No. 20200014 titled “Premium Contribution and Collection of Payment of Overseas Filipino Member” which raises premium payments by 0.25 percent, from 2.75 percent last year to 3 percent this year.
This is the first tier of increase in premium payments until it reaches 5 percent in 2024.
The premium increase covers all direct PhilHealth members, including those who are self-employed. (ia/PNA)