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OFWs buck hike in Philhealth rate


03:23 AM December 21st, 2011

By: Philip C. Tubeza, December 21st, 2011 03:23 AM

Migrant rights groups are up in arms over a plan to nearly triple the Philhealth premium payments of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) starting 2012.

Unless the Philhealth board withdraws the circular it has issued, on January 2 all overseas workers will be paying P300 more for their Philhealth premiums, according to a joint statement from the groups, which said the planned increase was decided with only a few OFW groups being consulted.

“These new rates are being imposed without consultations, without clear explanations, and without consideration given the heavy financial burdens already being experienced by our migrant workers given the series of calamities and continued slowdown in the world economy,” they said.

The groups and their representatives include former labor undersecretary Susan Ople of the Blas F. Ople Center, Luther Calderon, president of the Kabalikat ng Migranteng Pilipino, Apostol Gratela, chair of the Kalahi-Advocate for Overseas Filipinos and Jun Aguilar of the Filipino Migrant Workers’ Group.

Those unable to pay within the first six months of 2012 will have to pay P2,400 pesos as annual premium from July onward, “a huge amount compared to the current P900 pesos being shelled out by every OFW,” the groups said.

According to the migrant rights groups, Philhealth had early Tuesday called a consultative meeting with a handful of nonprofit organizations representing overseas Filipino workers.

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