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OFWs urge DoH, DFA to look into GCC’s $10 medical fee

THE overseas recruitment industry urged the Department of Health to seek assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs in looking into the Gulf Countries Council (GCC) registration fee before this turns into a crisis.

Industry officials said the DoH should ask the DFA to intervene, through diplomatic channels with the GCC’s Ministries of Health Executive Board on the controversial $10 registration fee officially called “GCC EXPATRIATES HEALTH CHECK UP PROGRAM.”

The controversy on the $10 registration fee has slackened the deployment of OFWs to the Middle East, especially skilled workers. The DoH has issued a memorandum warning the medical clinics on the inaccurate report of the collection of the fee which the DoH-accredited clinics have denied.

A medical clinic owner, who asked for anonymity, said the DoH memo circular is inappropriate since the clinics have “nothing to do with it (the disputed registration fee).”

The GCC Executive Board based in Riyadh issued instructions to licensed recruitment agencies deploying to the Middle East countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen and UAE that selected applicants for medical examination with DoH-accredited clinics should register at gcchmc.org and the applicant should pay the $10 registration fee before he/she could proceed to the medical clinic chosen by the agency. The payment is made online through credit card of the applicant or through the agency’s card.

OFW advocate Susan “Toots” Ople said the fee collection is a “scam.”