Date Posted: November 28, 2010
Source: by AC/KBK, GMANews.TV-Pinoy Abroad
Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday urged Congress to suspend the implementation of the controversial compulsory insurance for agency-hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Binay, who is also the presidential adviser on OFW concerns, said Congress must review Republic Act 10022 or the amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act after recruitment agencies decried a provision in it requiring insurance coverage for OFWs hired by agencies.
“I’m calling on the labor committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives Overseas Workers Affairs Committees to defer the implementation of the law pending its review,” he said in a statement posted in the Office of the Vice President website Sunday.
Binay said recruitment agencies found the annual premium of $72 required by law too high, and that some foreign employers have already enrolled their Filipino workers in insurance plans.
Members of OFW group Migrante based in Taiwan also criticized the compulsory insurance provision, saying it discourages and adds heavy burden to prospective employers.
“We are pretty sure that OFWs are the ones who will suffer the most for the employers will pass the burden to poor contract workers,” Migrante Taiwan head Dave Chang said in a separate statement posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website on Sunday.
Section 37-A of RA 8042, as amended by RA 10022, requires that each agency-hired OFW be covered with a compulsory insurance policy at no cost to the worker. It also states that only private insurance companies duly registered with the Insurance Commission (IC) may provide the insurance coverage.
Binay assured OFWs that he will heed complaints and continue to hold consultations regarding the controversial provision.
“We will continue to hold consultations with various government agencies and stakeholders to address the complaints we received. Our primary concern is to protect the interests of our OFWs and not to cause them any additional and unnecessary burden,” he said.