PhilHealth payment no longer needed for issuance of Overseas Employment Certificate

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President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to stop requiring payment of PhilHealth premiums for issuance of Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), this was stated by Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque during a virtual press briefing on May 4.

“Inatasan na po ng Presidente ang POEA at ang OWWA na huwag nang gawing requirement ang pagbayad ng PhilHealth para makuha ‘yung Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). So hindi na po kayo hostage,” the presidential spokesperson said.

He also said that increase in PhilHealth premiums will be on hold while crisis brought by COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing.

“Sa ngayon po, habang mayroon tayong krisis ang naging desisyon ng Presidente huwag na muna tayo magpataw ng karagdagang pahirap sa ating mga OFWs. Lalong lalo nga sa panahong napakadami sa kanila ang nare-repatriate at nawawalan ng trabaho,” Secrtary Roque said.

“Whether or not tataas po ‘yan, realidad po na ang isang insurance system ay kinakailangan nakabase po sa actuarial science. Ang linilinaw ko lamang po, unang-una ang pagtaas po ay hindi 3 percent, it’s only .25 percent [from 2.75 percent],” he explained.

However, Roque said non-payment of premiums does not mean exclusion from benefits.

“At pangalawa, nakasaad po sa batas na ating sinulong na kapag hindi napagbayad ng premiums hindi po ‘yan dahilan para mawalan ng benipisyo. Kahit anong mangyari po sagot tayo ng estado alinsunod sa obligasyon ng estado na magbigay ng karapatan ng kalusugan sa lahat ng mamamayan,” he said.