THE PHILIPPINE Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) has suspended the implementation of a department order that required rehired and directly hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to pay compulsory insurance coverage.
“The suspension will save our returning OFWs and those directly hired by foreign employees at least P1,700 worth of mandatory insurance coverage while reducing the requirements imposed by the government. This will be a big relief for our OFWs,” Migrant Workers Secretary Susan V. Ople said in a statement on Monday.
The head of the newly established Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) also clarified that newly hired OFWs would still have to pay the mandatory insurance coverage as mandated by law.
Ms. Ople added that the DMW received feedback from several OFWs who expressed their confusion on whether they were still required to pay compulsory insurance despite the easing of travel restrictions in other countries.
Last year, The Department of Labor and Employment issued Department Order No. 228, which was meant to serve as a “protective insurance mechanism against OFWs contracting the coronavirus.
It required employers of the migrant workers to pay for the insurance coverage subject to a full refund on the first day of arrival at the country of destination.
Ms. Ople cited the improving global health situation and the high vaccination rates among OFWs as a reason to suspend the compulsory insurance coverage.
The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that there were 1.77 million land and sea-based OFWs as of 2020.
This is lower than the 2.18 million reported in 2019, due mainly to the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. — John Victor D. Ordoñez