One of the reasons why a great deal of our labor force continue to look for job opportunities abroad is the lack of compassion and the shrewdness of some local employers.
These modern-day slave masters would even rip off their lowly employees of their law-mandated, basic worker’s benefits.
The following is one example of an employer’s violation that is rampant throughout the country.
In blatant violation of law, Mandaue Integrated Manpower Services, which is engaged in janitorial maintenance services, does not remit employees’ contributions to PhilHealth.
One of its employees, Romulo Rosas, died of meningitis after he did not get the needed medical treatment because his PhilHealth account was found to have zero balance.
We all know the deplorable state of our public health system. Despite the much publicized government health programs, one can easily see the depravity inside public hospitals.
With nothing not even a cent in his PhilHealth, Romulo ended up dead meat.
According to his bereaved family, deductions were made from his meager monthly salary, supposedly as his contribution to PhilHealth for his medical insurance coverage.
Deductions were also made for the worker’s Social Security System (SSS) and Pag-IBIG Fund contributions. It is likely that these were also not remitted.
It turned out Rosas was without any PhilHealth benefits because the operator or management of Mandaue Integrated Manpower Services, which bears the address 3rd Floor, GASVI Building, A.S. Fortuna Street, Mandaue City, Cebu, did not remit his contributions.
There are millions of Romulo Rosas out there who toil in both skilled and unskilled jobs and are left in the cold without health insurance benefits because employers like the Mandaue Integrated Manpower Services neglect their obligations under the law.
The usual victims of this illegal practice are janitors, security guards, domestic helpers, carpenters and laborers, mostly deployed by local employment agencies and contractors like poor Romulo’s employers.
Those culprits at Mandaue Integrated Manpower Services should not forget that they thrive because of the blood, sweat and tears shed by their workers.
Well, we learned that this particular agency or contractor ran afoul with local authorities when the agency committed lapses in its contract with the Cebu provincial capital.
Now, for the education of those culprits at the Mandaue Integrated Manpower Services, PhilHealth benefits of your employees are governed by the provisions of Republic Act 7875, as amended.
Also known as the “National Health Insurance Program Law,” it authorizes PhilHealth Corp., among others, to:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, to impose interest and/or surcharges of not exceeding three percent per month, as may be fixed by the Corporation, in case of any delay in the remittance of contributions which are due within the prescribed period by an employer, whether public or private…”
Further, PhilHealth Circular No. 004, Series of 2013, which took effect on April 12, 2013, states that all premium contribution payments or any balance thereof that have not been paid or remitted to PhilHealth after they became due and payable shall incur a monthly interest rate of two percent.
But what good would all these surcharges to Romulo whose body now lies six feet under?
It is about time that Congress does a little more legislating and less grandstanding.
This act of injustice against millions of workers has been going on for so long and the legislature has not come up with a measure that aims to curtail it and impose stiff penalties on erring employers.