Friday, April 7, 2017

Kuwait-bound OFWs can still claim results from suspended WQ8 clinics

Kuwait-bound OFWs who have paid for and undergone pre-employment medical exams  before the suspension of Winston Q8 Certifications Solutions Inc. still have the right to claim the results.
Agnette Peralta, Department of Health (DOH) Asec. for the Office of Health Regulation, on Thursday said that OFWs who have paid for their completed exams prior to the suspension of Winston Q8 should still receive the medical exam result and go ahead with their trips if certified fit for employment.
“Hindi binibigay yung results ng kanilang medical exam. [Pero] tapos na yun eh! The suspension started now, then yung mga na-test before, may karapatan dun sa results,” Peralta said at a seminar spearheaded by the Blas Ople Policy Center.
“Pag binayaran niyo yan at hindi ibinigay ang resulta, that’s estafa. Criminal [case] ‘yan,” she added.
On the other hand, ACTS OFW Party List Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III said that Winston Q8's failure to issue receipt of payment to their customers is another reason why OFWs are having a hard time getting their medical exam results.
“Binabayaran sila ng workers ng P8,000 to P10,000 pero hindi sila nag-iissue ng resibo. Ang siste pa dito, they ask the applicant to deposit the money directly to their bank account. Yun na nga raw yung pinaka-resibo nila,” Bertiz said.
DOH's Peralta signed a preventative suspension order against Winston Q8 after a Congressional resolution accusing the company of having an agreement with Mawared Services, the agency that issued visas for Kuwait.
Bertiz opposed the operation of Winston Q8 in August last year. He was among the House lawmakers behind the resolution that eventually led to the suspension of the company’s operations.
Overcharging, decking
Winston Q8, according to its website, is a Philippines-based company that aims “to achieve a preeminent position in this visa processing channels while representing Kuwait's Ministry of Health.”
It began operating on August 8, 2016, after it was given the right to pre-employment medical screenings for Kuwait-bound OFWs by the Kuwait Embassy.
Prospective OFWs needed to pay between P8,400 to P10,000 to Winston Q8 before they can undergo medical certification tests at any of the following eight clinics in Metro Manila:
  • Ruben Bartolome Clinic Inc.
  • Abakkus Medical Diagnostic Services
  • Orion Medical
  • Diagnostic Center
  • San Marcelino Medical Clinic Co.
  • Global Medical Clinic
  • Agoncillo Medical Clinic
  • Barthol Medical Clinic
Meanwhile, OFW groups opposed the medical certification scheme under the firm for allegedly discriminating against applicants from the Visayas and Mindanao by imposing higher charges.
The group also accused Winston Q8 of encroaching into Philippine sovereignty for claiming that it is a representative of the Ministry of Health in Kuwait, and in effect, it reintroduced the outlawed "decking" practice.
Under the past decking system, OFWs must register for their pre-employment medical exams with an exclusive group of medical clinics for employment. This was outlawed through an amendment to Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995.
RA 10022 amended the Migrant Workers’ Act to allow OFWs to choose any DOH-accredited clinics to have their pre-employment physical exams with.
The law passed a decade after decking was implemented by the GCC Accredited Medical Clinics Association (Gamca), a group of 19 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-accredited medical clinics. —LBG, GMA News

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