A non-government organization specializing in labor migration has warned the public, especially those Filipinos bound to work abroad to be very careful in a malicious scheme allegedly from the GCC Ministry of Health. The said program requires Middle East-bound OFW applicants to pay a registration fee of $10.
“This online registration scheme appears to be a multi-million peso scam targeting our OFWs. No one in the Philippines was consulted and we also don’t know who will benefit from these new fees being collected and arbitrarily imposed on our OFWs,” says Susan Ople, leader of the non-government organization Blas F. Ople Policy Center. The said website can be found at www.gcchmc.org.
According to Ople, this registration scheme is earning a minimum of P222 million per year because the Philippines has deployed 333,671 workers to GCC countries as of 2015.
“This online registration scheme has all the makings of a scam and is being perpetrated by foreigners allegedly representing Gulf countries. We urge the DFA and DOLE to investigate this scam and for the DOH to stand pat on its position to prohibit clinics from participating in this highly suspicious online registration system,” Ople added.
Ople also noted that OFWs bound to GCC and Middle East countries are now being required to pay $10 as a registration fee for the Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME).
This new requirement is allegedly regulated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Ministry of Health, with the approval of the Department of Health in the Philippines.
However, it turned out that DOH didn’t approved the new scheme with the basis of Department Circular No. 0371:
“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 Medical Facilities for Overseas Workers and Seafarers (MFOWS) from participating or using the said online scheme.”
Undersecretary Roland Enrique Domingo, the one who signed the memorandum circular, advised the public to report to them all activities involving this online registration scheme.