With the recent tension noted in the Middle East, Hong Kong, and in other parts of the world – directly or indirectly, OFWs will be affected by these kinds of events.
In one way or another, their earning power will be affected either right from the source (employers) or through remittances (foreign exchange). It is for this reason that any additional or unnecessary expenses on their part or from their families will cause a big impact on their finances, especially at this point in time.
OFW Groups Urge Gov’t to Suspend SSS, Philhealth Premium Hikes
In line with this, Blas Ople Policy Center head and former Labor Undersecretary Susan ‘Toots’ Ople called on the government to give Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) a break on the increase of premiums for Social Security System (SSS) payments and PhilHealth, as shared in a report by the Inquirer.
According to Ople, “The outlook for our overseas workers is not at its brightest, with tensions rising throughout the Middle East and on-going protests in Hong Kong over a hotly contested legislation, among other challenges.”
Considering these factors, any additional payments or expenses could push OFWs to choose illegal activities or prefer to be undocumented to escape the rising premiums imposed by governement agencies.
Sharing the same sentiment are several labour groups who are also appealing to the government to scrap the provision in the published Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the SSS law, making OFW collections tie up with the issuance of an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).
By doing so, OFWs will be forced to shell out at least an additional payment of PHP 2,880 for each vacationing OFW based on minimum rate of contributions.
This amount can be costly, especially to those who are in countries where political instability is currently a problem.
While the intentions behind this initiative mean well for the OFWs as well as for their families in the long run, the timing of its implementation will be crucial, especially since certain countries where OFW deployment is quite high are experiencing some crises that could affect their living.
Still, the government has the final say as to how things will be done, since they have already set up the rules by which OFWs will have to comply to, once the scheme is set into motion.