Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded a Supreme Court en banc resolution that denied the motion of the GCC Accredited Medical Clinics Association (GAMCA) to stop the Department of Health (DOH) from implementing the prohibition of the so-called medical referral “decking system”.
The GAMCA is a group of 19 medical clinics accredited by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is the association of countries of the Persian Gulf, for the medical examination of overseas Filipino workers bound for member states Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman.
“The Supreme Court Resolution is a welcome development for thousands of overseas Filipino workers,” said Baldoz.
“The medical referral ‘decking system’ brought inconvenience and unwanted delays to aspiring OFWs, as it required them to line up at the GAMCA Manila office or file online requests, just to get forced referrals to medical clinics that were far from their places of origin,” said Baldoz.
It was then POEA Administrator Secretary Baldoz who initiated the removal of the GAMCA medical referral “decking system”, and who questioned an unnecessary second examination at the host country to be paid by the worker, even if the worker had already passed a medical examination administered by a Philippine clinic.
Both the decking system and the matter of disregarding the certified results of Philippine medical clinics have been outlawed by Congress, pursuant to Republic Act No. 10022, which amended the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.
Citing R.A. 10022, the Supreme Court denied the motion by GAMCA that sought to stop a 20 February 2015 DOH order to implement the prohibition of the “decking system”. In the same Resolution, the Supreme Court also suspended the permanent injunction issued by Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 110, which stopped previous DOH issuances against the decking system.
With the Resolution, the stage is set for the High Court to pass upon the main issue of constitutionality of the prohibition of the “decking system” under RA 10022, which is the subject of separate petitions filed before the Court by the GAMCA and DOH. Pending such a decision on the constitutionality issue, the High Court in the aforesaid Resolution proclaimed that the DOH “has the solemn duty to faithfully implement the law prohibiting the decking practice.”