Saturday, December 27, 2008

Letter to Rep. Rodriguez, about HB 5621

To Rep. Rufus Rodriguez
2nd District, Cagayan de Oro

Honorable Sir,

Warmest greetings of peace from the deserts of Saudi Arabia!

We, in Migrante Saudi Arabia would like to express our sentiments concerning House Bill 5621 calling for a compulsory welfare insurance plan for OFWs authored by the good legislator.

While we welcome the good legislator's effort to address the situation of OFWs, we believe that this proposal would only aggravate the collection of all sorts of fees and fund-raising schemes from migrant workers. As with most expenses, the recruitment agency would only pass payment of the premium on to the would-be migrant.

Thus, we see the $3 premium on top of the regular and already compulsary $ 25 OWWA* Fee and PhP 900 PhilHealth** fees only as an additional burden.

We believe further that another scheme independent of OWWA is no longer required. In turn, we urge the good legislator to focus his attention on overhauling the OFW benefits scheme system, by:

(1) Scrapping the OWWA Omnibus Policy implemented in 2004 which essentially cut-off the assistance benefits of OFWs and migrants-in- distress at the same time expanding its mandate to include the benefit package proposed under HB 5621;

(2) Returning the medical insurance coverage from PhilHealth to OWWA;

(3) Once returned to OWWA, the medical insurance coverage should be expanded by lowering the age of beneficiaries and spreading its scope to include other family members (which is especially true to OFWs who are single and/or, single parents);

(4) Expanding the existing scholarship, entrepreneurship assistance and livelihood programs of OWWA;

(5) Expanding the mandate of OWWA to function as social security, complete with a retirement plan and wider package of benefits.

The OWWA Fund has been bleeding OFWs dry but only a few has really benefitted from all that money. But it is not all.

We believe, it is high time we migrants benefit for every dollar that has kept the economy afloat these past few years.

Our sincerest thanks,
A.M. Ociones
Migrante KSA
(Migrante International - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Chapter)
Tel. No.: +966-56-679- 3202
Email: migrante_ksa@
URL: http://migrante- ksa.blogspot. com

* OWWA is Overseas Workers Welfare Adinistration.
** PhilHealth is Philippine Health Insurance Corporation

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