British national appeals to PH Senate, amend PhilHealth law mandating OFW’s to pay more amid pandemic, financial hardship

Looks like PhilHealth’s plan to require its members to pay extra in light of the economic hardships brought about by the coronavirus pandemic is getting stiff opposition in social media.

You can tell that Philhealth’s plan isn’t smooth sailing from here on out when even a foreign national has joined the conversation, expressing one’s strong opposition to it in Facebook.

In the open letter addressed to the Philippine Senate, British national Malcolm Conlan said that as much as he believed in the view that ‘we are all in this together’ particularly in light of the covid pandemic, he is strongly opposed to the PhilHealth move.

Conlan believed the PhilHealth law needs amendment that should be fair to all, especially in time of the covid pandemic.

Conlan bared he has been flooded with messages from OFWS confiding him they are also struggling financially amid the covid pandemic and the news regarding PhilHealth’s new scheme adds another layer of burden to them.

Another point raised by Conlan is that these funds are recession-proof. Meaning, whether the dollar or pound crashes or whatever economic downturn occurs, OFWs will still be forced to send the same amount each month to cover expenses and bills in the Philippines, and that includes paying the PhilHealth contributions of their families back home anyway.

Conlan ended the open letter urging Philhealth to drop its plan as a way of thanking them for their enormous contribution to the world at the height of this global pandemic, not penalising them in this way.

As of this writing, Conlan’s open letter has generated 3,000+ shares, 3,000+ reactions and 1,300+ comments on Facebook.

You may start reading the open letter below now.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE Senate of the Philippines

FAO:

Senate of the Philippines,
Pasay City,
Philippines.
80334

My thoughts on the PhilHealth mandatory contribution which could be 3% depending on salaries of those OFW’s working abroad.

As much as I believe in the view that ‘we are all in this together’ particularly in light of the COVID19 pandemic, with the greatest respect, I do not support this move that had been orchestrated by certain Senators of the Philippines.

I believe there should be an amendment and a more fairer contribution system, particularly at this time of crisis.

I have been getting many messages from concerned Filipinos who tell me that they are already struggling abroad to pay rent, bills, food, any local health insurance charges but can’t afford to pay this premium in addition. It’s not that they don’t want to contribute to the healthcare of the nation, they fundamentally do, BUT working abroad doesn’t suddenly make you rich. It’s a very hard life for many OFW’s abroad too.

Just because they obviously earn more than they would do back home, outgoings are greater too. Also, one mustn’t forget that the main reason why they go abroad in the first place is to support their families back home. Not forgetting that overseas remittances to the Philippines make up for around 6% GDP each year.

Not only that, these funds are recession proof. Meaning to say that however much the dollar or pound crashes or whatever economic downturn occurs, families will still be forced to send the same each month to cover expenses and bills in the Philippines, that for most will include paying the PhilHealth contributions of their families back home anyway.

There seems to be this entirely false impression from many back home that their loved ones working abroad are somehow rich. To be honest, particularly at this time, some OFW’s abroad, can’t even afford to feed themselves as they work in sectors that have no guaranteed employment like private care, cleaning, in restaurants etc, many of which have simply shut down.

Even during normal times, how can it be right for an OFW to have to pay contributions to a healthcare facility they might never actually get to use? Many OFW’s are so overworked abroad and stay abroad for so long, that tragically, some never actually get home to experience the fruits of their labour.

Yes, I do believe that OFW’s abroad could possibly afford to and should pay a little more, maybe as a top up to increase the benefits that they would be entitled to when they finally go home, but this mandatory payment, I believe is unfair. Maybe IF it was means tested yes, but if this deprives their families of getting the same support they need through remittances, then I believe this should be dropped urgently.

At this time, I believe we should be thanking our OFW’s, particularly due to their enormous contribution to the world at the height of this global pandemic, not penalising them in this way.

Respectfully yours,

Malcolm Conlan

#PhilHealth
#OFWs

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