The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) reached out to its Overseas Filipino Worker-members by conducting a service mission at the Kingdom of Bahrain from June 29 to July 1, 2017. This was done in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy located in the capital city of Manama, of this island nation in the Persian Gulf.
The service mission was conducted to bring PhilHealth services closer to the thousands of Filipinos working in this progressive Arab country. Bahrain is host to 60,000 Filipinos who work as professionals, skilled and semi-skilled workers and domestic helpers (Avendaño, PDI 2017).
The three-person team composed of PhilHealth Regional Office VIII Vice President Renato L. Limsiaco Jr., and Humphrey Lubang, together with Ronaldo Bernabe of PRO-National Capital Region, was tasked to set up a one-stop-shop in the Philippine Embassy where OFWs can register or update their membership. The team also conducted orientations and participated in the well-attended Gabi ng Talento at Musika to inform other Filipino workers about PhilHealth and how they can avail themselves of the benefits under the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).
During the three-day service mission, PhilHealth was able to print 800 PhilHealth cards, distribute 400 copies of PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF), generated 97 Member Data Records, effected 158 member data amendments, gave out 400 pieces of PhilHealth business cards and 800 brochures on Z Benefits, OFW Program and list of accredited collecting agents. Orientations on PhilHealth membership and contribution, benefits and availment process were also conducted daily.
According to Lubang, PhilHealth systems programmer and frontline officer, it was a privilege to have met and served the OFWs in Bahrain. “Having met some Filipino workers in Bahrain, I really appreciated the sacrifices of OFWs just so they can earn more for their family. They have to bear years of separation from their families, endure a climate so much harsher than ours, not to mention different culture and food.”
Limsiaco, on the other hand, said that Filipinos there really expressed that they have limited access to information about the NHIP. “You can really feel that they value information about PhilHealth especially that it will also benefit the families they left behind in the Philippines. In fact, one of the recommendations of the FilCom (Filipino Community Organization) leaders is for PhilHealth to have a permanent representative assigned in Bahrain just like what the SSS and Pag-IBIG did,” he added.
The Philippine Embassy headed by Ambassador Alfonso A. Ver was thankful to PhilHealth for the successful three-day activity. (Miramar P. Zabala, PRO 8)
(Reference: Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas, Head Executive Assistant and Concurrent OIC-Vice President for Corporate Affairs Group, Tel. 0917-8089399)