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Roque Reacts After Philhealth Blame Him For OFW Payment Hike

PHILHEALTH – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reacted after Philhealth blamed him for the controversial hike in the monthly contribution of OFWs.

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) will soon be required to pay a 3% Philhealth monthly contribution before the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) release their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).

OEC is one of the important documents they have to present to immigration officials. The Universal Health Care Law states that “the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) shall ensure that land-based overseas Filipino workers, whether new hires or returning (Balik Manggagawa), pay their PhilHealth premiums prior to issuance of the Overseas Employment Cet1ificate (OEC).” It was signed into law last Feb 2019.

Philhealth
Photo Source: Metro News Central

Lots of people asked to repeal the measure. Based on a report from GMA News, Change.org filed an online petition. They have gathered almost 300,000 signatures as of this writing.

They wanted to repeal the measure considering almost all the people now are in crisis due to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Now, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque was blamed for the increase in the contribution of OFWs.

Poor OFWs

According to the report, Harry Roque said Philhealth should respond to the people who are complaining about the controversial hike. He said the agency is blaming him because the one who authored the said law.

“Yung mga taga-PhilHealth, imbes na sagutin ang issue ay ibinaling ang sisi sa akin dahil ako nga ang author ng batas,” he said.

The former party-list lawmaker authored the Universal Healthcare Act. He clarified that even if he’s the one who passed it into law, he did not order Philhealth to increase the OFWs monthly contributions.

“Wala sa batas ‘yan (increase), nasa IRR (implementing rules and regulations) ‘yan at ang namuno sa IRR ay ang PhilHealth,” Roque said.

Harry Roque
Photo Source: Rappler

Based on the report, Harry Roque said the officials at the agency should be the ones to address the issue. He said some people who were involved in the alleged corruption are still working at the agency.

“Pero ‘yung tunay na sindikato, ‘yung matataas na opisyal diyan sa PhilHealth, nandiyan pa rin,” Roque said.

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READ ALSO: Philippines Always Followed China Policy Says Roque

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