Press Release
February 15, 2009

Villar bill seeks insurance coverage for OFWs

Nacionalista Party President Sen. Manny Villar filed a bill seeking compulsory insurance program for all overseas contract workers.

"The rising number of Filipino workers who were maltreated and abused and the escalating number of OFWs who lost their jobs due to the economic problem are compelling reasons why there should be a system to protect them better," Villar said.

Senate Bill 3040 otherwise known as the "Overseas Contract Workers Insurance Act," proposes that all overseas contract workers should be covered by a welfare insurance program in addition to benefits being provided by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). They shall be entitled to the following benefits:

a. Accidental Death Benefit of up to US$15,000; b. Survivor's Benefit, in case of natural death, of up to US$10,000; c. Permanent Total Disablement of up to US$7,500; d. Repatriation of Bodily Remains, including burial, of up to US$4,000; e. Repatriation due to Emergency Evacuation and legitimate causes of up to US$1,000; f. Subsistence Allowance of up to US$100 per month for six months totaling US$600; and g. Legitimate Monetary Claims for Unpaid/Rightful and Just Wages of up to US$4,500

Villar, who is also former Senate president, noted that the number of OFWs has increased almost 25-fold over the past 20 years, with nearly 1.2 million registered deployments to over 190 countries in 2006 alone.

"Realizing that Filipino workers abroad are one of the hardest hit by the financial problem, this insurance program will facilitate the processing of legal claims of our OFWs", Villar said.

Under the proposal, all recruitment agencies will be required to pay a premium of US$3.00 per month to OWWA or any reputable and legally authorized private insurance company in the country for the insurance coverage of overseas contract workers.

Failure to pay the premium on time could be a ground for the suspension or revocation of the recruitment agency's license.

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