Just this month, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued a warning to all licensed recruitment agencies and clinics who cater Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). This warning discussed the online registration system which is said to be operated and controlled by the Gulf Cooperation Council Ministry of Health.
Prior to the advisory, the POEA investigated this accordingly and started with what we have here in our country which is the Department of Health (DOH). In POEA’s advisory, the Department of Health (DOH) denied the hearsay and claims that they are the ones who approved that applicants have to pay a registration fee of $10 for the pre-employment medical examination.
Instead, the DOH prohibits the use of these online registration systems of medical facilities for OFWs and Seafarers (MFOWS).
The Department Circular No. 0371 which was issued last December 22, 2017 explains that since there are no such thing as extra payment for medical examinations. Moreover, this can be a complex scheme or a form of decking and monopoly of health examination services for Filipino workers.
The Department Circular No. 0371
It has come to the attention of the Department of Health (DOH) that a new online registration system that requires the OFW applicant to pay a registration fee of US$10 is being used by some Medical Facilities for Overseas Workers and Seafarers (MFOWS) for the provision of Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME).
This scheme was allegedly authorized by DOH.
DOH upholds the provisions stipulated in the Republic Act No. 10022, titled, “An Act Amending Republic Act No. 8042, Otherwise Known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, As Amended, Further Improving the Standard of Protection and Promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers, Their Families and Overseas Filipinos in Distress, and for Other Purposes” and Joint Memorandum Circulars of DOH, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, and Department of Justice regarding the prohibition of decking, monopoly and charging of additional fees by OFW clinics.
Since the said online registration system charges additional fee to the OFW applicants and can be restrictive to few selected DOH-accredited OFW Clinics, it may be construed as another form of decking and monopoly of health examination services for Filipino migrant workers.
Thus, DOH prohibits the MFOWS from participating or using the said online scheme. The public, as well as, the MFOWS, are hereby advised to exercise caution and report to DOH activities pertaining to the online registration system for PEME. Please be guided accordingly.
Since this is the case, we can be sure that the DOH is not in any way related to this issue. Moreover, they took exact action to close out this dilemma. Although there was no statement that refunds will be possible, they can expect to not pay anything in their medical examinations moving forward.