FALSE: Risa Hontiveros quote on OFWs paying higher PhilHealth rate
Claim: Senator Risa Hontiveros said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should pay higher contributions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) because they earn dollars.
Several Facebook users posted the same graphic attributing the following quote to Hontiveros: "Karapat dapat lang patawan ng karagdagan (sic) bayad ng mga Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) ang PHILHEALTH tutal Dollars naman yung kinikita nila."
(OFWs should be charged a higher PhilHealth rate. After all, they are earning dollars.)
Readers sent this claim to Rappler for verification. Multiple posts containing this graphic were also flagged by Facebook Claim Check, the platform's tool for monitoring posts with potentially false information.
The facts: Hontiveros did not say the quote attributed to her. She labeled the quote card as "fake news."
Hontiveros posted on Facebook with the graphic attached, saying: "Fake news alert! Hindi ko po sinabi ito. Dumami agad ang mga fake news na ganito against me pagkatapos kong kontrahin ang pagbubukas ng mga POGO [Philippine offshore gaming operators]."
(Fake news alert! I did not say this. Fake news targeting me increased right after I opposed the opening of POGOs.)
Moreover, this quote was not reported by any news outlets.
Rappler also reached out to the first 3 posters of the graphic to ask for their source, but received no response as of writing.
PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0014, released in April, increases the mandatory contribution of OFWs from 2.75% in 2019 to 3% in 2020.
The circular prompted an online petition urging PhilHealth to scrap this directive. The petition has garnered around 300,000 signatures.
The circular cites the Universal Health Care law, which was co-sponsored by Hontiveros in the Senate. (READ: EXPLAINER: What Filipinos can expect from the Universal Health Care Law)
Former senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito and Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto were the principal sponsor and primary author of the bill in the Senate, respectively, while Quezon 4th District Representative Angelina Tan and then-Kabayan representative and now Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque sponspored the bill at the House. (READ: Who should be credited for the passage of the universal health care law?)
The bill was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 20, 2019.
Rappler earlier debunked another false quote attributed to Hontiveros. Other personalities who were made subjects of false quotes were former presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, and Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com
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