VICE President and housing czar Jejomar Binay directed the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-ibig) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to suspend the implementation of the six-month advance contribution of overseas workers.

Binay said there is a need to review the legal basis and propriety of compelling OFWs to pay in advance the equivalent of six months contribution, or P600, as pre-condition to their departure.

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“What is important is that government should assist our OFWs and should not be seen as further imposing burdens on them," he said.

“Aside from reviewing the legal basis for the order, the concerned government agencies should hold more consultations with the affected sectors. There should be transparency in the process,” he added.

Binay, as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), chairs the Board of Trustees of Pag-Ibig Fund.

Under the POEA Memorandum Circular No. 06, Series of 2010, all out-bound OFWs are mandated to pay six-months worth of PAG-IBIG membership contribution. They will not be able to get their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) unless they have paid the amount.

Concerned migrant workers groups, among them Migrante and the Ople Policy Center, as well as associations of labor exporters, have questioned the directive.

Binay also assured the OFWs that the matter will be given priority by his office, saying the government will continue providing assistance to the OFWs.

Earlier, Binay vowed that they are all working to ensure that the goal of the Aquino administration to provide decent housing to Filipinos. (AH/Sunnex)