Roque: UHC law didn’t mandate PhilHealth contribution hike for OFWs
MANILA, Philippines — The increase in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) premium contribution of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is not part of the proposed Universal Health Care Law, but part of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) crafted by the state health insurer.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the clarification after OFW groups denounced the PhilHealth’s move to increase the contribution of OFWs starting this year.
“Alam niyo po ang masasabi ko lang, wala po sa batas na aking isinulong na nagsasabi na dapat ipataw ‘yung ganitong hirap sa mga OFWs,” Roque said in an interview on GMA’s “Unang Hirit.”
(The increase is not in the law that I authored which states that OFWs will shoulder this kind of burden.)
Roque, a lawyer and former Kabayan party-list representative, was one of the principal authors of the Universal Health Care Bill in Congress.
“Wala po sa batas yan, yan po’y nasa Implementing Rules and Regulations ng PhilHealth at ang namuno po sa pagsulat ng Implementing Rules and Regulations ay PhilHealth mismo,” added Roque.
(That is not in the law. That is in the implementing rules and regulations of PhilHealth. The one who crafted the implementing rules and regulations is PhilHealth itself.)
Under a PhilHealth circular dated April 2, OFWs with monthly income of P10,000 to P60,000 are to pay 3 percent of their salary, from a previous rate of 2.75 percent.
Nearly 300,000 OFWs signed a petition to repeal PhilHealth’s move, stressing that their jobs were affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The increased premium contribution also did not sit well with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin who said it would not benefit the OFWs at all.
Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno said the move is an “additional burden” for OFWs as they struggle with the impact of the global health crisis.