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Teddy Boy Locsin on PhilHealth payment hike: Leave OFWs alone

The Philippines' top diplomat on Sunday said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should be left alone, saying the increase in the contribution of their premium payments to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) would not benefit all.

In a post on his Twitter account, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin Jr. hit the increase in PhilHealth premium payments of OFWs to 3.0% of their monthly salary.

"It is like an income tax which was abolished for OFWs and even their tax-free income filings were destroyed. They are just totally out of the purview of government exactions for which they will not benefit at all," he said.



"Why don't we just leave OFWs alone except to help them when they are in trouble. Their blood but better wages abroad account for 10% of our GDP according to the assholes who want to take some of their earnings," he added.



His remarks come after PhilHealth last week reiterated the increase in the contribution of OFWs. Those whose monthly income ranges from P10,000 to P60,000 are required to pay 3% of their monthly salary starting this year, an increase from 2.75% in 2019.

"After the abolition of the income tax on OFWs they've figured another way to tax you for the great privilege of being born Filipino, poor and jobless at home. Let's all sing for nothing," said Locsin.



An online petition on — which has gained 289,958 signatures as of posting —  has since been mounted to repeal the measure, given the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

"I believe that we OFWs and our dependents have been already struggling amidst this pandemic and yet PhilHealth had issued a very unfair memo regarding premium payments," the petition read.

"I believe that this is already too much of them to ask for an interest rate and a penalty which is very unfair and inhumane for those who travel away from their families to work," it added.

PhilHealth is a tax-exempt government corporation attached to the Department of Health (DOH) mandated to administer the National Health Insurance Program which provides health care services to all Philippine citizens.

"It is very unfortunate that they call OFWs modern heroes and yet they penalize us with such directives. We urge the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) to reverse this directive as this is unfair and an abuse to our migrant workers," the petition read.

GMA News Online has repeatedly reached out to PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales for comment on the matter, but no response has been received as of this posting. — LA, GMA News

Tags: philhealth, ofws