By Analou De Vera
A migrant workers’ advocacy group pointed out to what they call as flaws in Republic Act (RA) 11199 or the Social Security Act particularly in the provisions concerning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“We see some basic flaws in both the law and the draft IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations),” said Blas F. Ople Policy Center President Susan Ople in a statement.
Ople questioned why land-based OFWs will be considered as “self-employed” in their membership.
“We are concerned over the definition of an OFW as self-employed yet membership is mandatory. We all know that OFWs have foreign employers,” said Ople.
“In the same manner, we wonder why manning agencies were defined in the law as employers. We all know that they are not the actual employers,” she said.
Ople also questioned why the OFWs contributions is being linked to the provision of the Overseas Employment Certificate.
“Linking the contributions of OFWs to the issuance of an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is also problematic. Why should social security become a condition for employment abroad,” she said.
Ople urged the Social Security System (SSS) to conduct more consultations before finalizing the law’s IRR.
“We are still hoping that the SSS would invite the different OFW stakeholders to a consultative forum. We also urge the SSS to partner with DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) in getting the opinions of OFWs in various countries regarding the draft IRR,” she said.