An online petition for the abolition of PhilHealth’s new policy that requires overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to pay 3 percent of their monthly salaries as contribution has gathered more than 350,000 signatories as of Sunday evening.

According to PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0014 signed on April 2, OFWs with salaries between P10,000 to P60,000 must pay the premium contribution, with an initial payment of P2,400.

The 3 percent deduction will increase by half a percentage point annually until it reaches 5 percent in 2024.

Members who fail to pay in time “shall be required to pay all missed contributions with monthly compound interest,” the circular stated.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Sunday said OFWs would “not benefit at all” under the new directives.

The online petition on labeled the penalty “inhumane,” and called the timing of PhilHealth’s memorandum “unfair” as OFWs and their families struggled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is very unfortunate that they call OFWs modern heroes and yet they penalize us with such directives,” the online petition stated.

“We urge Philhealth to reverse this directive as this is unfair and an abuse to our migrant workers,” it said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro