The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has suspended the compulsory collection of insurance packages for direct-hired and rehired land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” V. Ople confirmed on Monday, Aug. 15.
The Expanded Compulsory Insurance Coverage for returning OFWs and direct hires was the subject of Department Order No. 228, Series of 2021 issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Undersecretary Bernard Olalia, concurrently the Officer-in-Charge of the POEA, said the department order from DOLE was a “protective insurance mechanism against OFWs contracting COVID-19”.
But with the improvement in global health situation and high vaccination rates for OFWs, Ople said the POEA has already suspended the DOLE’s order.
“The suspension will save our (returning OFWs) workers and those directly hired by foreign employers at least $35 (P1,700.00) worth of mandatory insurance coverage, while reducing the number of requirements imposed by government. Malaking ginhawa ito para sa ating OFWs (This is a big relief for our OFWs) said Ople.
Ople decided to suspend the collection of insurance due to confusion among returning OFWs on whether or not they should continue paying for the expanded compulsory insurance despite the drop in COVID cases.
The DMW Secretary, however, clarified that the mandatory insurance coverage under the Expanded Compulsory Insurance Coverage still applicable for ‘newly’ hired OFWs because it is set by the law.
“To be clear, there are two types of compulsory insurance. The one for the new OFWs as a result of the enacted law, and the expanded compulsory insurance for returning workers and direct hires stated in an old DOLE’s department order. We will continue to implement what is stipulated by the law,” Ople explained.
“The expanded version set by Department Order 228 for returning workers and direct hires will be set aside for the time being due to the lack of consultation with stakeholders,” she added. (Jun Marcos Tadios)