OFWs can choose clinics for pre-employment physical exam – SC
OVERSEAS Filipino Workers (OFWs) can now choose the medical clinic for their physical examination after the Supreme Court denied the petition of GCC Accredited Medical Clinics Association (Gamca) to stop the implementation of the law requiring their clinic members to cease and desist from enforcing the decking system.
The decking system is a practice where an OFW is required to register for pre-employment medical examination with a group of medical clinics, which subsequently farms out the OFW to a medical clinic elsewhere.
The decking practice was believed to be an effective mechanism of preventing alien workers suffering from communicable diseases from entering the receiving country.
But the high court noted that Gamba is the sole medical group accredited by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to conduct pre-employment medical examinations. GCC member States include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Then, Congress enacted Republic Act 10022 amending the Migrant Workers’ Act insofar as it prohibits the decking practices and allows the OFW to choose any of the accredited Department of Health operated clinics. The Department of Health (DOH) then issued an order implementing the law.
In an eight-page resolution released Monday, aside from denying the petition filed by Gamca, the high court also suspended the permanent injunction issued by the Pasay RTC Branch 108 last August 10, 2012.
“The DOH, as an executive department, has the solemn duty to faithfully implement the prohibition against the decking practice on all DOH-accredited medical clinics,” the high court en banc said.
“A plain reading of the Migrant Workers’ Act, as amended, and its implementing rules shows that the decking practice is absolutely prohibited in the Philippine jurisdiction,” the high court said. AC
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