Good News! No More OEC for OFWs!
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they will soon be issuing overseas Filipino workers an identification card to do away with the issuance of an overseas employment certificate (OEC).
An OEC is a proof that an OFW is properly documented and legally employed to work abroad. It is also an essential travel document (an exit pass), which is required to be presented at international ports of exit in the Philippines before an OFW can return to the country of his/ her employment.
In a briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, July 4, Bello said that the OFW ID, which will be called IDOLE (ID of the DOLE) will be given to “all bona fide OFWs at no cost” – which eventually can also be used in lieu of other Philippine government IDs, including Social Security System, Pag-IBIG Fund, and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation cards
“Replacing the OEC with an OFW ID is good news,” former FilCom (Filipino Community) president Alan Bacason told Khaleej Times. “It will be an all-one ID, much like the Emirates ID. It is also a good way to properly monitor the OFWs not just in the UAE but around the world.” (OFWs worldwide number around 10 million, according to Philippine official records).
Bello also said they are looking into adopting a system that would let IDOLE serve as the designated passport of OFWs.
He said all “bona fide” Filipinos working abroad would receive the identification card free of cost from the labor department. “If you want to be deployed or before you can be deployed for an overseas job, you have to obtain an OEC from the POEA,” said Bello. “So they don’t have to go to the POEA every time they go and they come back, and they go again. They have to always get their OEC. There’s no need. All they have to do is show their ID,” he added.
Joey Tiberio, sales manager at Philippine Airlines, added: “This is one of the best projects and initiatives taken by the Philippine government to support OFWs like me. By streamlining the processing of documents we will save not only time but also money.”
In the UAE, the initial cost of getting an OEC is Dh110; afterwards an OFW can get it for free after he/she secures a receipt of exemption. The process and fee required are taxing to Filipino expats who usually had to take a day off from work just to secure an OEC.
The iDOLE card will have several features geared towards more convenient OFW transactions with the government.
1) Easier transactions with government and private agencies;
2) Access to OFWs’ records with government agencies;
4) Serves as a debit card for the proposed OFW Bank, and,
5) Serves as a reloadable Beep card that can be used for MRT or LRT rides.