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Saudi-bound OFWs can now choose clinics for medical examination

THE overseas recruitment industry has welcomed the joint circular that abolished the 15-year-old GCC-Approved Accredited Medical Centers Association’s or GAMCA monopoly in medical testing for overseas Filipino workers leaving for work in the Middle East.
    
Through the circular signed by the Departments of Health, Labor and Employment, Justice and Foreign Affairs, overseas Filipino workers can now choose freely which clinics they would undergo their medical examination.
 
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, together with Secretaries Janette Loreto-Garin of the DoH, Albert F. del Rosario of the DFA, and Leila de Lima of the DoJ, have signed Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2015-0016 or the Abolition of the Monopoly of GCC-Approved Medical Centers Association, and the GAMCA Decking Referral System.
   
“Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2015-0016  gives every Filipino Migrant worker the freedom to choose any of the DoH-accredited or DoH-operated clinics to conduct their medical examinations  The so-called GAMCA decking practice is now prohibited and violators will be subjected to criminal sanctions,” Baldoz stressed.
   
Before the signing of the joint circular, only members of GAMCA, which is composed of 19 medical clinics, could conduct the medical examinations of OFWs bound for the Middle East countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.
   
“Upon the effectivity of the joint memorandum circular, the medical testing centers for Middle East-bound OFWs will be now more accessible and the cost of medical examination will be much lower,” Baldoz said.
   
Under the joint memorandum circular, the DoLE, through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, pursuant to its Rules and Regulations, is empowered to suspend or revoke the license of recruitment agencies who engage in “decking and referral” OFW medical examination applicants.
   
“The POEA can and will also disqualify foreign employers participating in the overseas employment program if found to be involved in the said system,” Baldoz added.