08/13/2010 [ tribune.net.ph ]
The implementation of six months in advance contribution for housing from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) was ordered frozen yesterday by Vice President Jejomar Binay, concurrently the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
It is not clear when the HUDCC chairman’s directive takes effect.
The mandatory contribution was a precondition to the approval of their departure for jobs abroad and was earlier mandated by the Home Development Mutual (Pag-Ibig) Fund and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), both under the HUDCC umbrella shelter agency.
POEA Memorandum Circular No. 06, dated July 7, 2010, required all out-bound OFWs to advance contributions before they are issued the Overseas Employment Certificate.
Concerned migrant workers groups, among them Migrante and the Ople Policy Center, as well as associations of labor exporters, have questioned the memorandum.
Instead, the HUDCC chairman ordered the two agencies to conduct a more thorough legal review of why OFWs should be compelled to advance their contributions as a precondition for overseas job postings.
“What is important is that government should assist our OFWs and not seen as further imposing burdens on them,” Binay said.
Nevertheless, he noted, “there are benefits to be derived from Pag-Ibig membership and this should be explained fully to our OFWs.”
Binay gave assurance that OFW concerns will be dealt with priority by his office.