November 12, 2012

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JULY 20, 2012 – Overseas Filipino Workers will use Facebook and Twitter to protest the impending plan of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) to increase its premium. Dubbed as Global Webwide Protest to Stop Philhealth Increase which will run from July 20 – 25, 2012 in different social media platforms, the online protest was initiated by Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards founding president Kenji Solis who is based in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has now adherents from 67 countries majority are OFWs from the Middle East or Gulf countries, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong.

The Philhealth Board recently issued Circular No.022 imposing a 150% hike in health premium for OFW members from PhP 900 to become P2, 400; OFWs find this increase extremely exorbitant and inconsiderate because not many of OFWs were consulted. Through its Facebook page Global OFW Voices – the voices of more than 10,000 OFWs, is being mobilized to stage synchronize protest on the different social media platforms of Philhealth, government officials including the President PNOY and other government agencies to air a unified message against the increase.

OFWs globally plead to stop and immediately implement a moratorium on imposing the increase until a comprehensive and genuine consultation with most OFWs and other stakeholders have been conducted. The government has to consider the mobile or transient nature of OFWs, and recognize their unique circumstances where majorities do not directly benefit from the insurance since most of them are already provided with far better and superior health insurances by their companies. In particular, Philhealth should be more sympathetic on OFWs who are earning meager salary like domestic helpers, laborers, janitors, food servers, or those categorized as unskilled workers who find the increase as an added burden to pay before they leave abroad. The said increase is a direct violation of RA 10022, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 that “prohibits increase in government fees for services rendered to OFWs and their dependents.”

It is unfair for OFWs to be treated as revenue mill or as OFWs consider themselves as government’s milking cow. With their dollar remittances that keep the Philippine economy afloat including the strengthening of peso against the dollar, it is unfortunate that the government continue to levy additional fees on this sector. Although OFWs do not oppose government’s plan to provide universal health insurance to the poor, it is immoral to use solidarity to burden the already suffering workers overseas.

The group calls for a comprehensive discussion with Philhealth and other government agencies to agree on an equitable premium among OFWs and stop the increase until a mutual agreement has been reached.

For more information on this protest, visit:
Webwide Protest Against Philhealth Premium increase
Friday, July 20 at 7:00am in UTC+03 at Worldwide

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Dahilan kung bakit bawasan ang remittances – dahil ina abuso ng govt

June 24, 2012

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Grassroots NGO lists 5 reasons vs $1-billion Philippine loan to IMF

Kampanya Para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) lists five arguments against the $1 billion Philippine loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF):

1. Filipinos need that money.

Many don’t live a life of dignity. Of the 90 million Filipinos, 60 million remain poor, 30 million live on less than $1 a day, 22 million go hungry, at least 12 million are without jobs, and at least 2.5 million are homeless in Metro Manila alone.

2. The amount can be spent on more pressing needs.

One billion dollars can build 105,000 socialized housing units at P400,000 per unit, hire 350,000 health workers receiving P10,000 a month for one year, and provide 700,000 elderly people a monthly pension of P5,000 for one year.

3. Filipinos were not consulted on this loan.

According to Central Bank Vice-Governor Diwa Gunigundo, the Philippines can afford to give out loans because it has a huge gross international reserve (GIR), currently at US$77 Billion, and the country has finished its debt payments to IMF since 2006. He also said the GIR cannot be used for purposes other than being a reserve, even funding government programs.

So what’s the Aquino policy on reserves? Who decides on what to do with the money? Why were the Filipino people not consulted on this critical decision? Not even indirectly through the budget process.

4. Filipinos are victims of IMF policies.

Many Filipinos have remained poor because of stringent IMF conditions when it lent (not gave) money to the Philippines. It required the deregulation and privatization of key industries at the expense of basic social services, and the liberalization of Philippine economy that allowed the massive exploitation of the country’s natural resources with little return to its citizens in terms of social protection programs. These policies have resulted in a stunted Philippine economy with huge under- and unemployment rates.

The country remains in deep debt, with P357 billion of the country’s P1.8 trillion 2012 budget allocated to debt servicing. Filipinos are thus asking, why is the victim supporting its tormentor?

5. The IMF-supported profit-driven system is a failure.

The collapse of the US and European economies shows that the economic system that puts profit above people and planet is a failure. And the affected citizens, through Occupy movements in the US and Indignants protest actions in Europe, are already looking for alternatives. So why is the Philippine government supporting the purveyor of the system that has failed us and even themselves?

What is KAMP?

The Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) is a network of grassroots organizations advocating for a rights-based approach to social protection, particularly for decent and affordable housing, food security, employment guarantees, universal health care, education for all, and pension for the elderly and persons with disability. KAMP leads in the formation of the Asia-wide Network for Transformative Social Protection (NTSP), which now has campaign partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, advocating for a life of dignity for all.

Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, KAMP lead convenor, 0918 903 8687
Wilson Fortaleza, KAMP coordinator, 0905 373 2185 and 0922 526 1138



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