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My sister, a private school teacher, gave birth in January 21, 2016 to a healthy baby boy.  I am not sure if her case can be considered a premature delivery since she gave birth three weeks earlier than her scheduled due date.  Nonetheless, her delivery was uneventful and the baby came out healthy and strong.

Less than two months after she gave birth, my sister suffered from a severe case of skin asthma.  It got so bad that she was even prohibited by her doctor to carry or cuddle her baby.  She also had difficulty breathing at night and whenever she is exposed to smoke and dust.  She was confined in the hospital for five days until her rashes cleared out.

A few days after she was discharged from confinement, she filed her sickness benefit claims from the Social Security System (SSS).  Unfortunately, her claim was denied.  This was puzzling to us as she just recently received her maternity benefits from the SSS; she had no difficulty filing and claiming the proceeds.

We tried calling the SSS but no one seems to be able to give us a plausible answer.  I did my own research and these are my findings:

  1. A female SSS member who has successfully claimed her maternity benefits is no longer eligible to claim other types of benefits within a specified period:
    • A female who gave birth through normal delivery, or had a miscarriage, cannot file for sickness benefits claim within 60 days after childbirth or miscarriage.
    • A female who gave birth through caesarean section cannot file for sickness benefits claim within 78 days after childbirth.
  2. By law, an SSS member may only receive / claim one benefit at a given time.

My sister was able to claim her maternity benefits shortly after her baby turned one month old.  This was the reason why her claim for sickness benefits was denied by the SSS.

When we got hold of this information, my sister was able to clarify her concern better with the SSS.  She was then able to confirm that due to her maternity claim, she is not eligible for sickness benefits claims until after the 60-day prescription period.

Most SSS members may not be aware of this policy and it is best that claimants clarify minor details in their claims in order to avoid confusion later on.

Now you know.





While I was waiting for my turn at the billing section of a hospital in Fairview, Quezon City, I overheard a young couple discussing the contents of what looked like a typewritten note.

“Puwede na siguro ito… sinabi ko naman na babayaran natin pag natanggap na natin ang 13th month pay sa December,” said the guy while going over the white piece of paper.

“Kinakabahan ako baka manghingi pa ng kung ano-anong papeles. Certificate of Employment lang ang dala ko,” the young lady shuffled several sheets of bond paper before sliding all these inside a long brown envelope.

I gave them a friendly nod and a few minutes later, we were already chatting like old friends.  It turns out that the guy’s mother was hospitalized due to asthma and hypertension.  She was confined for eight days.  According to them, the hospital would not discharge the patient unless they complete the payment for their bills, doctor’s fees, and medicines.  They have accumulated a total of Php 87,000.00 over the course of eight days.  The day I met them at the billing section was actually their 10th day at the hospital as they could not leave until they’ve made payment arrangements.

They were only able to raise Php 37,000.  To remedy the situation, they were asked by the hospital to present a promissory note.  That was the document they were discussing earlier.  In it, they detailed the schedule of payments they will be making for the next two months until they are able to complete the full amount.

This got me thinking about the law that prohibits hospitals from refusing to discharge a patient who has fully recovered from his illness, on the basis that he could not settle his hospital bills in full.  I did my research as soon as I got home and found out that there are actually two kinds of laws that protect the rights and welfare of patients.

  • Republic Act No. 8344
    • The Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
    • It states that it is unlawful for any hospital or medical clinic to refuse administering to patients treatment and support that could prevent their death or permanent disability.


  • Republic Act No. 9439
    • An Act Prohibiting the Detention of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics on Grounds of Non-payment of Hospital Bills or Medical Expenses.”

Based on the couple’s story, R.A. 9439 is a more appropriate reference to their situation.

Was it legal for the hospital to detain the patient even after the doctor has already advised that she has fully recovered from her illness?

Here are the answers based on the details of the said Republic Act and on an article written by a Public Attorney from the Manila Times:

Are patients allowed to execute a promissory note in case they could not make a full or partial payment of their hospital bill?

Yes.  Based on Section 2 of the said R.A.:

Patients who have fully or partially recovered and who already wish to leave the hospital or medical clinic but are financially incapable to settle, in part or in full, their hospitalization expenses, including professional fees and medicines, shall be allowed to leave the hospital or medical clinic upon the execution of a promissory note covering the unpaid obligation.

Can the patient request for a copy of a medical certificate from the doctor or the hospital even if he is unable to settle the full amount of the hospital bill?


The patient has the right to demand the issuance of the corresponding medical certificate and other pertinent papers required for the release of the patient from the hospital or medical clinic.

How does the promissory note work?

The promissory note shall be secured by either a mortgage or by a guarantee of a co-maker, who will be jointly and severally liable with the patient for the unpaid obligation.

How about if the patient died and the family could not make a full payment of the hospital bill right away?  Will the death certificate be released to the family even if they have outstanding obligations at the hospital?

In the case of a deceased patient, the corresponding death certificate and other documents required for interment and other purposes shall be released to any of his surviving relatives requesting for the same.

Does the law cover all types of patients, whether confined in a private or ward room?

No.  RA 9439 applies only to charity patients.  Therefore, patients who stayed in private rooms shall not be covered by this Act.

Under R.A. 9439, a private room is defined as a single occupancy room or a ward type room divided by either a permanent or semi-permanent partition (except curtains) not to exceed four patients per room who are admitted for diagnosis, treatment and other forms of health care maintenance.

The guy’s mother stayed in a private room for the whole duration of her confinement.  And although the provisions of the Act do not apply to her, the hospital cannot prevent her from leaving still.  Insisting on having her stay until her family is able to make a payment may result to a case of illegal detention, an entirely different matter that the family may tackle in court.

The hospital was gracious enough to allow them to make a partial payment and execute a promissory note.  I lingered until they were done speaking with the hospital staff at the billing section just to find out if their request was accommodated.  I was delighted when they told me that they were granted permission to bring their mother home.  The hospital accepted the partial payment they made and honored the promissory note they submitted.




One of the most common questions we receive from our readers is regarding the benefits that an OFW may expect from the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) after they have lost their physical capacity to work abroad.  Similar with local private and government employees based in the country, an OFW must be protected by an insurance that will cover his and his family’s needs in the event that he could no longer perform his tasks as an OFW.  The OWWA handles this for Pinoys working on contract abroad.

Here are the lists of social benefits that OWWA members can look forward to as well as the documentary requirements needed when claiming these benefits.  These were lifted from the OWWA website as well as other online materials related to the subject:

What is OWWA?

The OWWA is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and a membership institution.  OFWs are encouraged to apply for membership at the OWWA.  They can either enroll through the POEA upon processing of their contract or as voluntary members while waiting for an opportunity to work abroad.  Each OWWA applicant pays a membership contribution of USD 25.00 to make their membership effective.

What are OWWA’s Benefits for Overseas Filipino Workers?

OWWA members are covered with life insurance for the duration of their employment contracts.

Disability and Dismemberment Benefit

A member shall be entitled to disability/dismemberment benefits ranging from Php 2,000.00 to Php 50,000.00 for partial disability.  In case of total permanent disability, a member is entitled to Php 100,000.00.

Death and Burial Benefits

Death benefits include Php 100,000 for deaths due to natural causes and Php 200,000.00 for death due to accident.  On top of the death benefit, the legal heirs shall also be entitled to Php 20,000 as funeral expense assistance.

What are the Requirements when Claiming these Benefits?

For Life Insurance, Disability, Dismemberment, and Burial Benefits:

  1. Passport (for land-based OFW), and Seaman’s Service Record Book (for Sea-based OFW).
  2. Certificate of Membership issued by the OWWA Membership Processing Center (MPC).
  3. OFW/Seaman’s undertaking executed by claimant (for Death Claim).

Documentary Requirements for Life Insurance Benefits:

  1. Original Death Certificate issued by LCR or Authenticated by Philippine Statistics Authority or Foreign Death Certificate for OFW who died abroad and accident report for death due to accident.
  2. Burial Permit
  3. Official receipt of funeral expenses.
  4. ID picture of claimant
  5. Any of the following applicable documents certified by LCR or PSA:
  6. In the absence of birth/marriage certificate, the following must be submitted:
    • Certificate from LCR that fact of marriage/birth is not recorded in the civil registry.
    • Baptismal/marriage certificate certified by the Parish priest/office.
    • Affidavit of two (2) disinterested persons re: facts of birth/marriage and claimant’s relationship to the deceased.

Documentary Requirements for Disability Benefit

  1. Foreign medical certificate
  2. Medical certificate issued by the local attending physician with medical examination procedure, (e.g. x-ray, MRI, CT scan)
  3. Accident report

Releasing requirements

Any 2 (original and valid copy) of the following:

  1. Passport
  2. Office ID
  3. Postal ID
  4. Driver’s License
  5. Original NBI clearance
  6. Senior Citizen’s ID





In one of my recent trips to the Manila City Hall, I spotted a guy casually smoking a cigarette right outside the office of a city Councilor.  As I walked further down the hallway (which was lined with the offices of several other councilors) I saw more people puffing sticks after sticks of cigarettes.  If you are a non-smoker, you will find it extremely challenging to pass by these halls or sit by the concrete benches.  When I left the area half an hour later, I smelled like an ashtray and had a bit of headache from all the cigarette fumes I inhaled.

When the President signs the Executive Order that will ban smoking from all public places in the entire country, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck in an area filled with other people’s cigarette smoke.  Once the drafted Executive Order is signed, smoking will be banned in all public places such as parks, bus stations and other public transportation terminals, alleyways between buildings, sidewalks, and even inside a vehicle as this is considered a public area.

The Department of Health is steadfast in monitoring the official implementation of the total smoking ban policy in the country. They are also moving towards having RA 9211, or the act regulating the packaging, use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of tobacco products amended to address gray areas like point-of-sale advertisements and designation of smoking areas.

Fresh, smoke-less air, anyone?

Tell us what you think about this latest news from the government.






Last week, we featured the reminders for Pinoy passport holders who are travelling as tourists and to work abroad under a contract.  Today, on our second and final installment of this 2-part series, we are going to share the basic documentary requirements for Pinoy emigrants and those travelling with a minor.

These were lifted from the Bureau of Immigration website.

  1. What are the departure requirements for emigrant Philippine citizens?
    • Unexpired passport;
    • Immigrant visa or residence card;
    • CFO-emigrant registration sticker (ERS); and
    • Validly-issued travel ticket.

The Emigrant Registration Sticker may be obtained by registering at the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO and by attending the pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS).  Children aged 12 years old and below are exempted from attending the PDOS but still needs to register at the CFO.  Children aged 13 years and above need to attend the Peer Counseling Program.

2. When shall a DSWD-travel clearance for travelling Filipino minors be required?

A Filipino minor (below 18 years of age) shall secure a DSWD-issued Travel Clearance if:

  • He/she is traveling alone to a foreign country; or
  • He/she is traveling to a foreign country accompanied by a person other than his/her parents.

3. What are the exceptions to the DSWD-issued Travel Clearance?

These minor children shall be exempt from the DSWD-issued Travel Clerance:

  1. Those of Philippine Foreign Service or diplomatic corps officials;
  2. Those living abroad with Philippine emigrants, subject to child-trafficking regulations;
  3. Those with unexpired alien passports;
  4. Adopted children, subject to a court-issued adoption order with Certificate of Finality;
  5. Illegitimate children with biological mother. If traveling with biological father, a proof of lawful custody must be presented.
  6. Those with proof of unexpired visa for permanent residence outside the Philippines;
  7. Those accompanied by a court-appointed guardian, subject to proof of guardianship;
  8. Those accompanied by a solo parent, subject to a Social Welfare Office-issued ID.  If illegitimate, subject to a Local Civil Registrar-issued Certificate of No Marriage.

It is good to note that coming back home to the Philippines with a passport that has less than six months’ validity is allowed for the following:

    • Philippine passport holders;
    • Former Filipinos and their dependents (i.e. immediate family members);
    • Permanent Residents and other special visa categories requiring temporary residence (with valid ACR 1-Cards);
    • Holders of diplomatic, official, and government passports.
    • Holders of visa under Section 9 (except Sec. 9 (a) and 47 of Commonwealth Act No. 613, as amended, and special non-immigrant visas under special laws, where the validity of such visas extend beyond the expiration of their passports and there is an Embassy or Consulate in the Philippines of which they are a citizen or subject (with valid ACR-1-Cards, where applicable); and
    • Those admitted by the Commissioner on humanitarian grounds.

A complete list of the countries whose nationals are allowed entry in the Philippines even passports of less than six months validity from date of arrival is available at the BOI website.

Share these information with your family and friends to avoid delays and set-backs on your trips abroad.




If your car’s plate number is on ‘coding’, you will have to wait until after 7:00PM before you can start driving down Metro Manila roads.  There will no longer be any ‘window hours’ between 10:00AM to 3:00PM, beginning October 25, 2016 that is.

According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), this is one of the sacrifices that all vehicle owners and operators must make in order to help ease Metro Manila traffic.  They said the public must not see it as a ‘punishment’.

On Edsa alone, the NCR’s main thoroughfare, about 7,500 vehicles pass per hour, per direction when it only has a capacity of 6,000 vehicles.  By canceling the window hours, Metro Manila roads will be relieved by as much as 20% of vehicle traffic from 7:00AM to 7:00PM during weekdays.  This is a much needed respite especially since the city is again bracing itself for the onslaught of the holiday traffic.  Should the scheme yield positive results, the Department of Transportation might consider keeping the scheme long after the holidays are over.

Tell us what you think about this new approach in solving our traffic problems.




Whether you are a frequent traveler, an Overseas Filipino Worker, or flying out of the country for the first time, there are basic things you need to know about travel documents and IDs essential to a smooth and hassle-free flight.  We’re not just talking about airlines that leave and arrive on time and don’t get your luggage all mixed up.  These are things every Filipino passport holder must know by heart.

Here is a summary of reminders, lifted from the Bureau of Immigration website that every Philippine passport holder must be aware of.  Read on.

  1. Travel requirements for Filipino tourists:
    • Unexpired DFA-issued passport. The passport must not be expiring in the next six months to avoid running the risk of being denied departure from the Philippines.
    • Unexpired visa if traveling to a country that requires tourist visas.
    • A return date on your plane ticket.
  2. Additional required documents and when these are needed.  Consistent with anti-human trafficking, human smuggling, and illegal recruitment laws, additional documents shall be required in the following circumstances:
    • Passenger discloses a doubtful, false, or suspect travel intent;
    • Passports and travel documents/visas are counterfeit, fraudulent, falsified, simulated, or tampered, such as:
      • Age;
      • Educational attainment;
      • Financial capability for travel;
      • Travel history, if any; and
      • Final destination.
    • Passenger’s totality of circumstances manifests a well-founded certainty of human trafficking, smuggling, or illegal recruitment.

3.  What documents are required for sponsored travel?

  • Philippine Embassy or consulate-authenticated Affidavit of Support with Undertaking showing:
  • 4th civil degree of consanguinity relationship between sponsor and the passenger. (e.g. pinsang buo) or affinity (e.g. bayaw/hipag/biyenan);
  • Sponsor’s financial capacity and legal status; and
  • Sponsor’s contact information; and/or
  • Philippine Embassy or consulate-authenticated Affidavit of Support with Undertaking showing:
    • Sponsor’s financial capacity and legal status;
    • Sponsor’s contact details; and
    • Sponsor’s corporate registration papers, if applicable.
  • In cases of local sponsor traveling with the passenger, a duly notarized Affidavit of Support and Undertaking which shall contain the following:
    • Sponsor’s financial capacity;
    • Sponsor’s undertaking is for passenger’s tourist travel with intent to return;
    • Sponsor’s complete residential address of the sponsor and contact details; and
    • Sponsor’s corporate registration papers, if applicable.

4. What documents are required of OFW?

  • Unexpired passport (The passport must not be expiring in the next six months to avoid running the risk of being denied departure from the Philippines.);
  • Unexpired and POEA-conforming visa;
  • Validly-issued travel tickets; and
  • POEA/PESO-database issued E-receipt or OEC.

Tomorrow, we will feature the documentary requirements for emigrant Philippine citizens and DSWD requirements when travelling with minors.

Meantime, keep this page as a bookmark and share it to your friends and families.




If you are planning to visit China this coming holiday season, you’re in for a treat.

Pinoys who have been issued visas to certain countries may now be exempted from applying a visa to enter Taiwan.  This is an announcement made through the website of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines.  Instead of a visa, an applicant may secure an ROC Travel Authorization Certificate instead.

Below are the conditions that an applicant must meet in order to enjoy visa-free entry to the said country:

  1. Applicant’s passport must have remaining validity of at least six months starting from the date of arrival in Taiwan.
  2. He or she must possess an onward/return air or ferry ticket.
  3. The applicant has never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.
  4. The applicant must possess at least one of the following documents issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States.
    • Valid resident or permanent resident card;
    • Valid entry visa (may be electronic visa);
    • Resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan.

Note that work permits to the above countries are not considered as visa.

Upon receipt of the ROC Travel Authorization Certificate, the applicant must print a copy and be able to present this for inspection when entering Taiwan.  Entry will be denied to travelers who fail to execute the printed copy.

The ROC Travel Authorization Certificate is valid for 90 days and the holder may enter Taiwan multiple times within the 90-day  period.  Should the applicant find the need to extend his stay, he must request for an extension seven days prior to the expiry of his certificate.

There are no exemptions to the above-mentioned requirements.  Should an applicant not meet the requirements, or intend to study, work, or stay in Taiwan for more than 30 days, he or she must apply for the appropriate visas at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines.  Their address is at the 41st floor Tower 1, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.




The central outlet office of the Philippine Statistics Authority (formerly NSO) in East Avenue, Quezon City has transferred to its new location in Sta. Mesa, Manila.  Their new address is Solicarel Building I and II, Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, in Sta. Mesa near the LRT 2 Pureza Station.  You may now proceed to their new location for the issuance of civil registry documents such as Birth, Marriage, Death, and Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR.

The PSA also holds offices at the following locations:

  1. Pasay City – Hobbies of Asia, #8 Diosdado Macapagal Avenue
  2. Caloocan City – Caloocan City Hall, A. Mabini Street
  3. Makati City – Makati City Hall, J.P. Rizal Street, Poblacion
  4. Muntinlupa City – 2nd level, East Parking, Starmall, Alabang
  5. Pasig City – Pasig City Hall, Caruncho Avenue, Barangay San Nicolas

All PSA offices are open during weekdays (Monday to Friday) from 7:00AM to 4:00PM and on Saturdays from 8:00AM to 5:00PM.

You may also have your civil registry documents delivered to your preferred address through the website or by calling (02) 737 – 1111.  The documents will be delivered to you within 2 to 3 days without leaving your home or office.  Online payment options are also made available for everyone’s convenience and security.




One of the best news of 2015 was the higher tax exemption for 13th month pay and other bonuses for income accrued beginning January 1, 2015.  The government raised the income ceiling to Php 82,000.00 giving employees from the private sectors and the government more room to enjoy their full one-month salary, incentives, and bonuses by year’s end.  It was indeed a merry holiday season for the Pinoy employee last year.

The same may not be true this year as the new administration, through the Department of Finance, moves to reform the tax package for annual bonuses and 13th month pays.  For easier reference, here is a list of the proposed changes on tax exemptions:

  1. Lower the tax exemption on the mandatory additional one-month salary, bonuses, and incentives.  (Where a gross income of Php 250,000 a year or Php 20,833 per month would be tax free.  The computation of the annual gross income shall include the mid-year bonuses and 13th month pay so that if the total amount exceeds Php 250,000, the employee will still be subject to tax as prescribed in the DOF’s proposed tax reforms).
  2. Remove the personal tax exemptions of working spouses.
  3. Remove the 20% tax exemption of senior citizens and Persons with Disability on certain goods and services and their exemption from the 12% value added tax.

Apart from the above, the government is also looking at lowering corporate income tax rates to 25%.  Property and capital income taxes will likewise be reviewed for possible reduction.  On the other hand, new taxes are expected to be imposed on sweetened beverages, chips, jewelry, mining, carbon, gambling (lottery and casinos) as well as alcohol and tobacco.

The reform measure is seen to help augment the needed funds for government projects on infrastructure, education, health, and social protection.

As a Pinoy employee (whether private or government), are you in favor of this proposal from the Department of Finance?  Let us know your thoughts!



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