Joint Position Statement of Filipino Migrant Groups on PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0014

On 22 April 2020, PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0014 entitled “Premium Contribution and Collection of Payment of Overseas Filipino Member” was officially made public. This is in fulfillment of President Duterte’s Universal Healthcare Law which was signed on 20 February 2019 which sets mandatory coverage to all Filipinos under the country’s National Health Insurance Program. At this time, an online petition initiated by OFWs opposing Philhealth’s mandatory collection has already garnered 237,780 signatures and is poised to muster more support in the coming days.

Here are just some of the reasons why OFWs and many Filipino migrants have expressed strong disapproval:

  1. The mandatory 3% is only the first phase of a tiered payment computation which is set to increase year by year reaching 5% in 2024. This is in addition to all the other enervating state exactions imposed by the Philippine government.

  1. Citing Hongkong as an example where OFWs have a minimum salary of HK$ 4630 (Php 30,095), the total contribution for 2020 would amount to HK$ 1,667 which is equivalent to Php 10,835.50 (Php30,095 x 0.03 x 12 months). By 2024 and onwards, upon implementation of the 5% increase on the monthly contribution, this would spike up to HK$2,778 or Php 18,057 yearly.

  1. This increase overburdens OFWs who are already troubled by retrenchments and loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. An overwhelming number of OFWs are not even covered by President Duterte’s DOLE-AKAP cash aid program and repatriated OFWs have been crying out on the government for steady and efficient amelioration.

  1. OFWs are already covered by existing insurance and healthcare programs in their host countries which renders Duterte’s mandatory Philhealth coverage as useless for Filipino migrants abroad. Why charge them yet again?

  1. Since regular contribution to Philhealth is part of OEC requirements, no OEC will be issued to OFWs who are unable to complete their Philhealth payments. Duterte broke his campaign promise of removing the OEC requirement.

  1. Members who fail to make payment after the due date will be required to pay all missed contributions with monthly compounded interest.

  1. Corruption in Philhealth: President Duterte himself has claimed last year that a whopping Php 154 Billion has been lost to Philhealth’s ghost patients and deliveries funneled mainly to profit-oriented private healthcare facilities. Why are OFWs and Filipino migrants being forced to shoulder government losses caused by corruption?

  1. Subsidizing private profit: While underfunded public healthcare and medical facilities are fast deteriorating, mandatory Philhealth collections are bound to benefit profit-oriented private healthcare facilities as public hospitals are engulfed by the government’s privatization program.

Our Demands:

  1. Stop the mandatory Philhealth premium exaction.

  2. Enforce a moratorium on all state exactions at this period of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

  3. Remove punitive penalties.

  4. Junk OEC.

  5. Establish a genuine universal health care program through free medical and health services.

  6. Enhance and strengthen the public health care system in the Philippines.

Instead of building more pro-people infrastructures for public health services and establishing a genuine universal health care program where medical and health services are free, President Duterte is clinging on to neoliberal economic policies that extort money from the public to fill the coffers of big private entities. This in itself is legalized theft that preys on our already overburdened Filipino migrants. Our opposition to this unjust state exaction, will not merely be a writing on a piece of paper. Migrante International encourages everyone to join our kalampagan and other forms of online protests to oppose the Duterte government’s mandatory Philhealth exaction.

We, Filipino migrants, affixed our organizations name herewith, to signify our support to the content and demands written on this position paper and to express our strong and collective opposition to the mandatory collection of Philhealth contributions.

Signed:

  1. Migrante International
  2. Migrante Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  3. Gabriela Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  4. Migrante Qatar
  5. Gabriela United Arab Emirates
  6. Migrante Seattle, USA
  7. Migrante Portland, USA
  8. Migrante Napa-Solano, USA
  9. Migrante Daly City, USA
  10. PAWIS East Bay, USA
  11. PAWIS San Jose, USA
  12. Migrante Los Angeles, USA
  13. Migrante Long Beach, USA
  14. Migrante Orange County, USA
  15. Migrante New York, USA
  16. Migrante New Jersey, USA
  17. Migrante Youth New York, USA
  18. Migrante Chicago, USA
  19. Migrante Washington D.C., USA
  20. Migrante Manitoba, Canada
  21. Migrante BC, Canada,
  22. Migrante Alberta, Canada
  23. Migrante Ontario, Canada
  24. Migrante Ottawa, Canada
  25. Alberta Care Workers Association, Canada
  26. Kabisig Society of Fort Saskatchewan
  27. Philippine Migrant Society of Canada (PMSC)
  28. PINAY, Canada
  29. Association of Filipino Parents, Quebec, Canada
  30. Filipino Indigenous Association of Quebec, Canada
  31. Aklanon Association
  32. Anakbayan Europe
  33. Campaign for the Human Rights in the Philippines, United Kingdom
  34. Europe Network for Justice and Peace in the Philippines
  35. Federation of Domestic Workers Association (FDWA), UK
  36. Filipino Ecumenical Migrants Ministry – IFI,
  37. FOA-Au Pair, Denmark
  38. Gabriela Germany
  39. Gabriela London
  40. Gabriela Roma
  41. Gabriela Switzerland
  42. Kabalikat Netherlands
  43. Kanulungan Filipino Consortium, UK
  44. Makabayang Samahang Pilipino (MkSP), Netherlands
  45. Migrante Austria
  46. Migrante Bologna, Italy
  47. Migrante Como, Italy
  48. Migrante Denmark
  49. Migrante Europe
  50. Migrante Firenze, Italy
  51. Migrante Iceland
  52. Migrante Ireland
  53. Migrante Mantova
  54. Migrante Milano
  55. Migrante Netherlands Amsterdam
  56. Migrante Netherlands Den Haag
  57. Migrante Utrecht
  58. Migrante UK
  59. Migrante Zurich
  60. Milan OFW Kapitbisig
  61. Nagkakaisang Pilipino sa Pransya
  62. Pinay sa Holland – Gabriela
  63. Promotion of Church People’s Repsonse Europe
  64. Samahan ng mga Kabataan sa Netherlands (SAMAKA-NL)
  65. Sentro Pilipino Chaplaincy (SPC)
  66. Ugnayang Pilipino sa Belgium (UPB)
  67. Umangat Migrante
  68. The Right Reverend Antonio N. Ablon, Iglesia Filipina Independiente
  69. Fr. Aris Miranda, Camillan Task Force
  70. AOTEAROA – NEW ZEALAND
  71. MIGRANTE Aotearoa New Zealand
  72. MIGRANTE Aotearoa – Palmerston North
  73. MIGRANTE Aotearoa – Christchurch
  74. PINAY Aotearoa – New Zealand
  75. Migrante Builders Aotearoa
  76. Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG), AUSTRALIA
  77. MIGRANTE Australia
  78. Lingap Migrante – Western Sydney Australia
  79. Migrante North Hornsby, Sydney Australia
  80. Migrante South West – Sydney
  81. Philippines Australia Women’s Association
  82. Migrante Kultura
  83. Migrante Melbourne
  84. Migrante Melbourne East
  85. Migrante Melbourne North – Samahang Tatak Pinoy
  86. Migrante Melbourne Northeast
  87. Migrante Melbourne West
  88. Migrante Perth, Australia
  89. Advance League of People’s Artists (ALPA), Australia
  90. AnakBayan Sydney
  91. AnakBayan Melbourne
  92. BAYAN Australia
  93. Gabriela Australia
  94. Gabriela Greater Sydney
  95. Gabriela Victoria
  96. Gabriela Perth
  97. Philippines Studies Network in Australia (PINAS)
  98. Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR) Australia
  99. United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
  100. Abra Migrant Workers Welfare Association
  101. Association of Concerned Filipinos
  102. Cuyapo OFW Association Hong Kong
  103. Filipino Friends
  104. Filipino Lesbian Organization
  105. Filipino Migrant Domestic Workers Union
  106. Filipino Migrants Association
  107. Filipino Women Migrant Association
  108. Friends of Bethune House
  109. Likha Filipino Migrants Cultural Organization
  110. Luzviminda Migrante
  111. Migrante Naguilian
  112. Migrante Pier
  113. Migrante Shatin
  114. Migrante Tamar
  115. Migrante Tsing Ti
  116. Migrante Tsuen Wan
  117. Migrante Yuen Long
  118. Migranteng Artista ng Bayan
  119. Organic Cultural and Environmental Organization
  120. Philippine Independent Church Choir
  121. Pinatud A Saleng Ti Umili (PSU)
  122. Pangasinan Organization for Welfare, Empowerment and Rights
  123. Samahang Migrante
  124. Sta Maria Migrants Association
  125. Women of Philippine Independent Church – WOPIC Antique
  126. Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union (FMWU)
  127. FMWU City Hall Chapter
  128. FMWU Chater Garden Chapter
  129. FMWU Chater Road Chapter
  130. Abra Tinguian Ilocano Society
  131. Annak ti Maeng Tubo-HK
  132. Baggak Cultural Group
  133. Bangued Migrants Workers Association
  134. Bucay Migrants Workers
  135. Bucloc Overseas Workers Association
  136. Ganagan San Juan Association
  137. Lacub Migrants
  138. Lagangilang Overseas Association
  139. Langiden Migrants Organization
  140. Lapaz Migrants Association
  141. Licuan-Baay HK Association
  142. Maeng Tribe of Abra Luba-HK
  143. Malibcong Migrants Association
  144. Timpuyog Ti Tayum
  145. BAYAN Hong Kong & Macau
  146. Cordillera Alliance Hong Kong (CORALL)
  147. GABRIELA Hong Kong
  148. Gabriela Hong Kong Bank
  149. Filguys Association
  150. Filipino Lesbians Organization (FILO)
  151. Promotion of Church Peoples’ Response (PCPR) – Hong Kong
  152. KAFIN Saitama – Migrante
  153. MIGRANTE Japan
  154. MIGRANTE Macau
  155. KASAMMAKO – Katipunan ng mga Samahan ng Migranteng Manggawa sa Korea
  156. New Era Foundation
  157. Pag-Iribang Bicolnon in Korea
  158. TERESA
  159. Osan Migrants Centre
  160. MIGRANTE Taiwan
  161. ACTION – Association of Concerned Filipinos in Thailand
  162. Migrante Philippines

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