GOVERNMENT AGENCIES UNITE TO OFFER INTER-AGENCY MEDICAL REPATRIATION ASSISSTANCE PACKAGE TO OVERSEAS FILIPINOS

“In the past, our government agencies have been doing medical repatriation for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), but there is little coordination with each other. With this Joint Memorandum Circular, we are establishing a better and integrated system for medical repatriations, which will hasten the provision of medical services for our modern day heroes,” thus declared Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Roger Tong-an in his welcome remarks during the signing of the said Circular held at the Hotel Jen, Pasay City.

Heads of seven participating government agencies signed the “Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) on the Integrated Policy Guidelines and Procedures in the Conduct of Medical Repatriation of Overseas Filipinos (OFs).”

The JMC aims to streamline the inter-agency efforts of the Philippine government in facilitating the Medical Repatriation Assistance Package (MRAP), which provides assistance to OFs who need to be transported back to the country for further medical care and attention.

“The JMC is there as an instrument for healing. Tutulungan natin ang mga OFW na may malubhang kalagayan na makabalik sa Pilipinas. In other words, the JMC tells the OFW, “hindi lang kayo statistics sa amin-- tao kayo sa amin. Kaya kung malubha ang sakit at hindi ka pwedeng iuwi, gagawin namin ang lahat na dun ka ipagamot. Pero pwede kang umuwi at kaya, may sistemang nakahanda dito,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in his keynote speech. He also encouraged the involved agencies to “go the extra mile” in delivering the services to the OFWs, pointing out that the implementing government offices should conduct an evaluation of the process and meet again after two to three months of implementation in order to address issues and concerns that may arise.  

Under the MRAP, medically repatriated OFs can avail of the following services for free: Airport Assistance and Initial Medical Assessment/Evaluation, Ambulance Conduction, Referral to and/or Confinement in a DOH Hospital, Endorsement to non-DOH Health Facilities, Financial Assistance, PhilHealth Membership Coverage, Medical Escort Services, and Psychosocial Counseling.

The DOH spearheaded the development of this JMC in an effort to harmonize existing processes and procedures, and to formalize inter-agency coordination and cooperation among the participating offices during medical repatriation of OFs, conducted in partnership with the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Social Welfare and Development, the Interior and Local Government, Labor and Employment (and its attached agencies, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), the Manila International Airport Authority, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The Circular will take effect 15 days upon its signing.