Locsin hits PhilHealth rate hike on OFWs
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Sunday said the increased PhilHealth premium contribution of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are among the government fees that are not beneficial to them.
“It is like an income tax which was abolished for OFWs and even their tax-free income filings were destroyed. They are just totally out of the purview of government exactions which they will not benefit at all,” he said on Twitter.
Under the most recent circular of PhilHealth, OFWs with monthly income from P10,000 to P60,000 are mandated to have an increased payment of 3 percent of their salary, from a previous rate of 2.75 percent.
“After the abolition of the income tax on OFWs, they’ve figured another way to tax you for your great privilege of being born Filipino, poor and jobless at home. Let’s all sing for nothing,” Locsin wrote.
Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the increased mandatory contribution was “an additional burden for OFWs” who are struggling with the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Why burden our OFWs burden with more mandatory payments when the government cannot even provide them with sufficient aid in this time of crisis? Why make them more cash-strapped?” said KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog.
The group also believes that the PhilHealth contribution of OFWs would not provide them health security amid the health crisis.
“Bakit ang OFWs natin ang pinag-iinitan? Ang gobyerno natin mabilis payagan ang operasyon ng POGO na hindi naman nag-aambag sa ekonomiya ng bansa, pero yung maliliit nating OFWs pinipiga pa,” Labog said.