Saturday, February 6, 2010

Equal to Extortion

Mandatory Pag-Ibig Fund membership and contribution equal to extortion - Satur

News Feature
5 February 2010

Makabayan senatorial bet and Nacionalista Party guest candidate Satur Ocampo today expressed strong opposition to the mandatory coverage to Pag-IBIG under Republic Act 9679 or "Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009." He said that mandatory coverage meant mandatory contributions, "This by itself is unjust and tantamount to extortion."

"It's unjust for the government to impose another exaction on the public, including OFWs. It should be the prerogative of Filipinos whether or not they want to contribute to Pag-Ibig. The choice and the power of decision is being taken away from us. This is yet another burden on all Filipinos. OFWs in particular already have very little to spare from the earnings abroad, yet the government wants them to pay one more mandatory fee. If Pag-Ibig wants to improve its services and expand its membership, it should do so not at the expense of the public and those who do not want to be members," Ocampo said.

Under Rule V of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the new law, all workers earning at least P1,000 are covered, including household helpers such as drivers, gardeners, cook, governess and other similar occupations. Membership is also being made mandatory for self-employed persons, whether actors, directors, scriptwriters and news reporters who are not under an employer-employee relationship; professional athletes, trainers and jockeys; farmers and fisherfolk; workers in the informal sectors such as cigarette vendors, street vendors, among others.

Coverage is likewise mandatory for Filipinos employed by foreign-based employers whether deployed here or abroad. Ocampo said this was a gross misinterpretation of the law.

"The real value of already miserable wages continues to slide as prices of basic goods and commodities steadily increase. The reformed value-added tax (RVAT) remains in place. To force the public to shell out contributions for the Pag-Ibig fund is nothing less than legalized theft. Filipinos should be allowed to have options regarding contributions to state-run fund and welfare agencies because its their hard-earned money," he said. #

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