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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Stop collecting advance contribution of OFWs to PAG-IBIG -migrant group

An alliance of Filipino migrant rights group in the Middle East has asked
the Home Development Mutual Fund or PAG-IBIG to stop imposing an advance
contribution to OFWs, new hires or re-hires.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator prompted
to raised again the issue after receiving complaints from OFWs that the POEA
had been collecting PAG-IBIG premium to returning OFWs or Balik-Mangagawa
who are not yet PAG-IBIG member.

"As far as I know, the collection of advance premium to PAG-IBIG covering
OFWs had been suspended since last year," Monterona said.

On August last year, Vice President Jejomar Binay, who chairs the PAG-IBIG
Board of Trustees, directed the Home Development Mutual Fund or PAG-IBIG and
the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to suspend the
implementation of collecting a six-month advance contribution of OFWs to the
housing fund after *OFWs organizations led by Migrante protested the what it
called "broad daylight hold-up" exploiting OFWs.

"What got the ire of OFWs over the 6-month advance contribution is that it
never went through a process of consultation, PAG-IBIG just imposed this
unilaterally; worst is that one could not be given an Overseas Employment
Certificate (OEC) without paying first an advance contribution," Monterona

Monterona added though the amended PAG-IBIG law requires a mandatory
membership of OFWs, which had been opposed by Migrante saying it should be
voluntary not mandatory, collecting advance contribution is only added
burden to the already struggling OFWs and aspiring overseas workers.

Monterona calls on Vice President Binay to look into this report that
alleges continued collection of advance contribution at POEA's processing

He added: "PAG-IBIG membership premium must not be made a pre-requisite in
obtaining OEC; give OFWs some flexibility, and not so much burden."

"PAG-IBIG would be having a hard time convincing OFWs to be members or
paying their monthly contribution if rampant fraudulent transactions still
persist such as its highly anomalous transaction with Globe Asiatic and
Legacy Group," Monterona averred.

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