The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), is the lead government agency tasked to protect and promote the welfare and well-being of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their dependents.

OWWA traces its beginnings to 1 May 1977, when the Welfare and Training Fund for Overseas Workers in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was created by virtue of Letter of Instructions No. 537, with the main objective, inter alia, of providing social and welfare services to OFW, including insurance coverage, social work, legal and placement assistance, cultural and remittances services, and the like.

On 1 May 1980, Presidential Decree No. 1694 was signed into law, formalizing the operations of a comprehensive Welfare Fund (Welfund), as authorized and created under Letter of Instructions No. 537.  Presidential Decree No. 1694 further authorized that contributions to the Welfare and Training Fund collected pursuant to Letter of Instructions No. 537 be transferred to the Welfund.

On 16 January 1981, Presidential Decree No. 1809 was promulgated, amending certain provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1694.[4]  Subsequently, Executive Order No. 126 was passed which reorganized the Ministry of Labor and Employment.  Executive Order No. 126 also renamed the Welfare Fund as the OWWA.


OWWA was created through: 

A “Welfare and Training Fund For Overseas Workers” was created on 01 May 1977 in the Department of Labor through a Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 537 signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. This LOI provides social and welfare services to Filipino overseas workers including insurance coverage, social work assistance, legal assistance, placement assistance, cultural services, remittance services, and the like. Sources of Funds comes from earnings and welfare fund collections from Overseas Employment Development Board (OEDB), Bureau of Employment Service (BES), National Seaman Board (NSB) and other donations, contributions.

Ferdinand E. Marcos

Ferdinand E. Marcos

Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1694

President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed a Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1694 on 01 May 1980, formalizing the LOI No. 537, which created the Welfare and Training Fund For Overseas Workers, into Welfare Fund for Overseas Workers or referred to as Welfund. This PD orders the transfer of all fund sources to the Welfund and its administration by the Board of Trustees.

Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1809

On 16 January 1980, President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed PD No. 1890 amending certain provisions of the PD No. 1694. Amendments include government banks as depository banks for the Welfund; expanding number of members of the Board of Trustees, from 7 to 11; and administration of the Welfund by the Board of Trustees through a Secretariat.

Executive Order No. 126
Corazon C. Aquino

Corazon C. Aquino

President Corazon C. Aquino signed an Executive Order No. 126  reorganizing the Ministry of Labor and Employment and for other purposes. Under Section XIX. Attached Agencies, item f., the Welfare Fund For Overseas Workers administration or Welfund was renamed into Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Republic Act (RA) 7111 

RA 7111 an Act establishing the Overseas Workers’ Investment Fund to provide incentives to overseas workers, reduce the foreign debt burden, and for other purposes was approved by President Corazon C. Aquino on 22 August 1991.

Executive Order (EO) No. 195

President Fidel V. Ramos signed an Executive Order No. 195 on 13 August 1994 providing Medical Care (MEDICARE) Program for Filipino overseas workers and their dependents. It is a compulsory coverage for those Filipino overseas workers not covered by the Philippine Medical Care Program of SSS.

Republic Act (RA) 8042

Fidel V. Ramos

Fidel V. Ramos

Republic Act 8042 or known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995” was approved by President Fidel V. Ramos on June 7, 1995. This Act strengthened OWWA’s mandate and services for OFWs and their dependents and expanded the composition of the Board of Trustees.

Under Section 15 of this Act, OWWA, in coordination with appropriate agencies, shall undertake the repatriation of workers in cases of war, epidemics, disasters or calamities, natural or man-made, and other similar events without prejudice to reimbursement by the responsible principal or recruitment agency. However, in cases where the principal or recruitment agency cannot be identified, all costs attendant to repatriation shall be borne by the OWWA. For this purpose, an Emergency Repatriation Fund, initially in the amount of Php100M was created and established under the administration, control and supervision of OWWA.

Section 17 establishes the Re-placement and Monitoring Center or RPMC for returning Filipino migrant workers wherein the DOLE, OWWA and POEA were tasked to formulate a program that would motivate migrant workers to plan for productive options such as entry into highly technical jobs or undertakings, livelihood and entrepreneurial development, better wage employment, and investment of savings.

Section 21 establishes a Migrant Workers Loan Guarantee Fund in order to further prevent unscrupulous illegal recruiters and loan sharks from taking advantage of workers seeking employment abroad. OWWA, in coordination with government financial institutions was tasked to develop financing schemes i.e., Pre-departure Loan and Family assistance Loan for ready to leave Filipino overseas workers and their families.

Section 32 states the additional membership to the OWWA Board of Trustees coming from women sector.

OWWA Omnibus Policies

GLoria M. Arroyo

GLoria M. Arroyo

OWWA Board of Trustees passed a Resolution No. 038 on 19 September 2003 instituting the Omnibus Policies of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. The Board promulgated and codified the policies, rules and regulations to provide guidelines on OWWA membership and its coverage, collection of contribution, and availment of benefits. It also embodied the policies on fund management, programs and services administration and corporate governance.

Executive Order (EO) No. 446

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed an Executive Order No. 446 on 12 July 2005 tasking the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment to oversee and coordinate the implementation of various initiatives for OFWs.


The OWWA Board

OWWA is administered by the Board of Trustees through the Secretariat headed by the Administrator as the Chief Executive Officer and assisted by two Deputy Administrators.

The Board of Trustees is the policy making body. It is a tripartite body with twelve (12) members representing the Government, management, and labor-OFW. Pursuant to RA 8042, a representative from the women sector was included. Below are the current members of the Board of Trustees: 

 BOARD OF TRUSTEES (at present):

The Board of Trustees

The OWWA Board

The Board of Trustees is the policy making body. It is a tripartite body with twelve (12) members representing the Government, management, and labor-OFW. Pursuant to RA 8042, a representative from the women sector was included. Below are the current members of the Board of Trustees:

Hon. Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz – Secretary of Labor and Employment and Chairman

Hon. Rebecca J. Calzado – Administrator and Vice-Chairman


Hon. Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III – Undersecretary, DOLE

Hon. Jesus I. Yabes – Undersecretary, DFA

Hon. Hans Leo J. Cacdac  – Administrator, POEA

Hon. Luz M. Cantor – Undersecretary

Hon. Gil S. Beltran – Undersecretary, DOF

Atty. Allan S. Montaño – Representative, Labor Sector

Hon. Rene Y. Soriano – Representative, Management Sector

Hon. Felixberto I. Rebustes – Representative, Sea-Based Sector

Hon. Ermie L. Garon – Representative, Land-Based Sector

Hon. Estrella D. Añonuevo – Representative, Women’s Sector





HANS LEO J. CACDAC  (POEA Administrator, Vice-Chairman)

MILAGROS ISABEL A. CRISTOBAL (Women Sector Representative)

ALEXANDER E. ASUNCION  (Land-based Sector Representative)

FELIX M. OCA (Sea-Based Sector Representative)

ESTRELITA S. HIZON  (Private Sector Representative)


POEA Legal Mandate

PD 797 (1982)

· promote and develop the overseas employment program

· protect the rights of migrant workers

EO 247 (1987)

· regulate private sector participation in recruitment and overseas placement maintain registry of skills

· secure best terms of employment for OFWs

RA 8042 (1995)

· tripartism

· full disclosure

· deregulation

· selective deployment

· dynamism in systems and information technology

RA 9422 (2007)

· reinforced regulatory function

· protect the rights of OFW as a worker and human being


The POEA has an organizational structure with the POEA Governing Board at the top. The Secretary of Labor and Employment heads the Governing Board, and the POEA Administrator as vice-chairman and representatives from the private, women, sea-based and land-based sectors as members.

The POEA Administrator oversees the daily operations of the agency and is supported by three deputy administrators.

The Deputy Administrator for Employment and Welfare oversees the Pre-Employment Services Office and the Welfare and Employment Office.

Under the Deputy Administrator for Adjudication and Employment Regulation are the Licensing and Regulation Office and the Adjudication Office

The Deputy Administrator for Management handles the general administrative and support services of the administration.


An average of 3,000 clients and as much as 5,000 clients s are served by POEA main office daily.  Our clients include Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) Licensed Recruitment and Manning Agencies Foreign Employers/Principals Applicants – Workers/ Would be Applicants, NGOs, media, and the general public.

Regional Offices

The POEA has three (3) Regional Centers which are located in La Union for Luzon, Cebu for the Visayas region and Davao for the Mindanao area.

Regional Extension Units are in Baguio-Cordillera Administrative Region, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga while satellite offices are located in Pampanga, Calamba, Laguna, Legaspi, Bacolod and Tacloban.

Core Functions

Industry Regulation

  • · Issues license to engage in overseas recruitment and manning to private recruitment agencies and ship manning companies
  • · Hears and arbitrates complaints and cases filed against recruitment and manning agencies, foreign principals and employers, and overseas workers for reported violation of POEA rules and regulations, except for money claims
  • · Implements a system of incentives and penalty for private sector participants
  • · Sets minimum labor standards
  • · Monitors overseas job advertisements on print, broadcast and television
  • · Supervises the government’s program on anti-illegal recruitment
  • · Imposes disciplinary actions on erring employers and workers and seafarers

Employment Facilitation

  • · Accredits/ registers foreign principals and employers hiring Filipino workers
  • · Approves manpower requests of foreign principals and employers
  • · Evaluates and processes employment contracts
  • · Assists departing workers at the ports of exit
  • · Develops and monitors markets and conducts market research
  • · Conducts marketing missions
  • · Enters into memorandum of understanding on the hiring of Filipino workers with labor–receiving countries
  • · Facilitates the deployment of workers hired through government-to-government arrangement
  • · Provides a system of worker’s registry

Worker’s Protection

  • · Intensifies public education and information campaign
  • · Conducts pre-employment orientation and anti-illegal recruitment seminars nationwide
  • · Conducts Pre-Deployment Orientation Seminars (PDOS) to workers hired through the government-to-government arrangement and name hires
  • · Provides technical assistance in the drafting of bilateral and multilateral agreements
  • · Provides legal assistance to victims of illegal recruitment
  • · Prepares OFW global mapping and profiling
  • · Implements gender-sensitive programs
  • · Networks with non-government organizations, workers’ organizations, etc.
  • · Provides repatriation assistance

General Administration and Support Services

  • · Human Resources Development
  • · Property and Supplies Management
  • · Financial Management
  • · Information and Communication Technology
  • · Plans and Policy Development
  • · Quality Management System

Program Thrusts


  • Continuing Agency Education and Agency Performance Evaluation/Ranking and Classification System

– Pre-application orientation seminar
– Labor market fora
– Seminar on best recruitment practices

  • Implementation of comprehensive case management program

– Conciliation

– Adjudication

– Monitoring of appeals

– Enforcement of decisions


Facilitation of 1 million OFW deployment

– Dispatch of technical marketing missions

– Intensify marketing intelligence work

– Pursue bilateral/multi-lateral agreements

– Encourage visit of foreign gov’ts and employers

– Strengthen linkages with education and training sector

– Enhance coordination with host governments

– Enforce policy on skills competencies


Global OFW mapping and profiling


Intensification of AIR campaign


– Pre-employment orientation seminars

– Illegal recruitment free-LGUs

– Multi-media information and education program


– Legal assistance to IR victims

– Surveillance/Entrapment operations

– Arrests

– Prosecution

– Closure of establishments

Implementation of incentive program for victims and witnesses of illegal recruitment

– Payment of docket fees and other court or legal fees

– Employment without placement fees

Provision of on-site remedies to OFWs to file complaints against employer or agency

OFWs may file complaints for violations of POEA rules against principal, employer, and/or Philippine recruitment agency at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office s (POLOs)

570 thoughts on “OWWA / POEA

  1. Good am po.

    Namatay po tita ko sa Malaysia last January 2010. March 2007 po siya nagpunta dun at naging member ng OWWA. Sabi po ng OWWA dapat renew daw po siya after two years. Pero during her membership sa OWWA 2008 under medication npo cy dun sa cancer of the breast at dun npo cy nagpagamot til 2010. Pero she passed away. May claims pa po b kmi n benefits kahit yung sa hospital nya while her membership is active.
    Tnx po

    • Hi Edwin,

      Sorry for late reply ha…

      Dwin, in your Tita’s case, paso na nga ang membership niya kasi kung two years ang kanyang kontrata sa Malaysia, ibig sabihin March 2009 ito na expired. Patakaran ng OWWA, dapat ma renew ang membership nito upang maka avail sa mga benepisyo.

      Ang rason ng OWWA, meron silang mga satellite offices in every country para sa mga OFW na mag renew ng OWWA membership. So walang dahilan na hindi maka pag renew ang OFW.

      I advice you to write a formal letter to OWWA and show them all documents during the period in which she was still a member of OWWA. Paki attach lahat ng mga xerox copies at dapat may mga dates ito na tumatama sa panahon na siya ay member pa.

      Kung makita ninyo doon si dating Labor Secretary Nitoy Roque pwede kayong lumapit sa kanya upang matulongan kayo paki sabi ang ofwempowerment blog ang nag refer sa inyo.

      Good luck Dwin!


  2. good day sir bong..
    hingi lng po ako tulong about sa kapatid ko dyan po sa riyad na nakakulong dw dahil nabundol ng arabo wla po kami update sa knyak ano po kaso nya o makukulong po va sya ng matagal?ito po pangalan nya emmanuel mendoza Po.

    • Sheyrel,

      Nabundol or siya ang nakabundol?

      In KSA, there are 3 classes of traffic violations, they are Class 1 to 3. It depends on the offense but all classes are with corresponding penalties and imprisonment for not more than 30days. If the accident occured with injuries and death, there will be an investigation and drivers are to be held or imprison for several days until responsibility is determined and any damages paid. Sa KSA may kasalanan ka man o wala, if you are involved in a traffic or road accident causing injuries and death, mostly both drivers are held in custody or be imprisoned regardless of fault.

      I noted the name of your brother, I will try to contact ANS about the status of his case.



  3. Mr. Bong
    i know this is not the write page to ask this kind of question,but im hoping that you could help..saang ahensya po ba dapat mgpatulong regarding po sa tao na may kasong concubinage at falsification of documents sa pilipinas? ang tao po na ito ay naka base sa Abu Dhabi.

    • MVP,

      Walang ibang option kung gusto mong mahuli or maparusahan or sagotinng taong ito ang mga akusasyon na tinutukoy mo kundi – mag file ka ng motion na “hold departure” para sa kanya at pag may order na galing sa korte, dalhin mo ang kopya nito sa Immigration office sa Intramuros para maisama sa record nila sa mga taong ma hold sa airport pag umalis ng Pilipinas.

      Pag uwi mo sa atin, puntahan mo ang korte na kung saan nakasampa ang mga kasong nabangit at mag file ka ng motion na nasa ibang bansa ang taong ito at kung sakaling magbakasyon sa Pilipinas ma hold siya sa immigration upang sagotin ang mga akusasyon na nakasampa sa kanya sa hukuman. Or simply instruct your lawyer to file the motion.

      Kung sakaling malaman niya na may HDO siya, nasa kanya na yon kung magpakatanda na lang siya sa Abu Dhabi at di na uuwi sa atin magpakailanman.

      Kung may kamag-anak ka doon sa Abu Dhabi, bigyan mo ng kopya ng kung anong dokumento meron ka tungkol sa kaso ng taong ito at isumite sa Embahada/OWWA for their record.


  4. Dear Mr. Bong

    Una sa lahat magandang araw po, nais ko pong humingi ng tulong sa inyo tungkol sa kaibigan ko na naka base sa dammam saudi arabia, na humihingi ng tulong sa lahat ng mga kaibigan, sa dahilang sobrang pag mamaltrato ng amo at binubugbog po sya, kinukulong pag umaalis ang mga amo sa ngayun po at ilang buwan palaman syang nag tratrabaho sa bansang dammam tulad nalang ngayun inaapoy sya ng lagnat dahil sa pagod at sobrang pag singhot ng mga likodong kanyang ginagamit sa pag lilinis ng bahay. Mr bong nais ko pong hingin ang number ng embassy sa dammam upang makahingi sya ng tulong sa mga ito at ng saganon eh matugunan ang kanyang kaligtasan sa kanyang mga amo salamat po ng marami at pag palain nawa kayo sa pag tulong sa kapwa pilipino mabuhay po kayo mr bong

    • Lourdes,

      Tawagan mo agad ang ating kaibigan sa POLO ALKHOBAR Labor Attache DAVID DES T. DICANG sa mga numerong ito: 897-9515, 894-1846, (9663) 899-5714, 894-1846, 897-6105.

      Sa opisina ang mga numerong iyan. Maari mo ring tawagan si Labor Attache Des Dicang sa Mobile Number 055-860-5765.

      Mag email rin ako sa iyo mamaya at may numero pa akong ibigay sa iyo.

      Pero tawagan mo muna ang mga numerong nabanggit sa itaas at sabihin mo ang lahat ng iyong nalalaman tungkol sa pag maltrato sa iyong kaibigan. Paki banggit narin ang aking pangalan kay Labor Attache Des Dicang.



      Address: POLO Communication Center, Al Khobar

      Email: polo_alkhobar@dole.gov.ph, polo_ero@yahoo.com

      Tel. No.: 897-9515, 894-1846, (9663) 899-5714, 894-1846, 897-6105

  5. To my Kabayan’s:

    Just have a quick question, is it yearly or every annual vacation you have to pay OWWA contribution??

    • Rose,

      OWWA membership requires you to pay $25 representing or for the whole duration of your contract. It means, if your contract is YEARLY then you will have to pay or renew your OWWA Membership every year. IF your contract is two years then you will pay your membership every 2 years. Ang ibig po sabihin, depende po sa iyong kontrata. Katulad ko po, yearly ang contract ko, nong umuwi po ako nagbayad po ako sa OWWA. Pero in my previous employer na ang kontrata ko ay 2 years at ang uwi ko rin ay every two years, nag renew po ako ng membership sa OWWA sa Pilipinas everytime I went home for vacation.

      However, I have to inform all of my readers and fellow OFWs na huwag po ninyong kalimutan ang mag-renew dahil kahit isang buwan lang na paso na kayo sa pagbayad ng renewal at (knock the wood) may nangyaring problema like accident or even death “WALA PO KAYONG MAKUKUHA” na benefits sa OWWA. Kaya ulitin ko po, huwag po kayong makalimot mag renew ng OWWA membership at kung puwede before kayo uuwi sa atin, mag renew na kayo sa POLO/OWWA office or Embassy kung saan kayo na location na bansa. At least ready kayo na mag-ikot sa Pilpinas at mag gala sa Pinas na secured kayo na may makukuha sa OWWA kung “simbako” may mangyayari sa OFW.

      Salamat po sa inyong katanungan.


  6. good day,
    to whom it may concern,i have brother in saudi arabia now and his taking a medication in the hospital because of accident of electric grounded, and one his hand was cut it already.what we should do,what benifet he can avail about this matter from polo owwa or his company,and what document he need.thank you very much and and God bless us all

    • Bren,

      Sensya na at medyo delay ang reply ko sa inyo dahil biglang na busy sa work.

      Merong makukuha sa OWWA na tinatawag na “Disability and Disemberment Benefits” from 2,000 to 50,000. Requirements are the following for Disability Benefit a) Foreign medical certificate (hospital in KSA) b) Medical certificate issued by the attending Physician with medical examination procedure, e.g., X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, etc. and c) Accident report. Pag ma release na ang pera or cheque dapat lamang na magpakita ka ng valid ID’s, copies of Passport ng iyong brother at isama mo na rin yong sa iyo. kung ikaw ang mag receive ng benefit.

      When he met the accident in time of his work, the company should shoulder all the expenses incurred. If your borther brother have GOSI (General Organization for Social Insurance) ng KSA, may makukuha siyang benepisyo dito.

      ingat at paki regards sa iyong borother.

      Please visit OWWA office near in your area and ask for additional requirements

    • Jocelyn,

      Hindi ko makuha ang gusto mong malaman. Pero kung tama ako sa pagkakaintindi ng iyong sulat kung tungkol ito sa Job Order.

      Ang Job Order ay pina process muna ng POLO at ito ay mau kaukulong dokumento tungkol sa detalye ng trabsho ng DH at once na ma verify ng POLO, ito ay pipirmahan ng Labor Attache (DH) at ito ay isusumite sa POEA.


  7. To whom it may concern,
    I have a relative in Bahrain, she is a domestic helper earning 8,000 pesos from her employer but in her contract is 15,000 pesos. She’s working with 2 employer cleaning 2 houses and babysitting until 3am. For 4 months of working she got sickness, sometimes she fainted due to lack of sleep. She wants to go home as soon as possible but she don’t know what to do. Please kindly helps us how to release her from her employer before she seriously get ill. We’re hoping for your consideration regarding this matter. Thank you so much.

  8. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,am gloria e.limbang am 40 years old and a came here in saudi on september 30 2004 i left my employer on november 08 2005 my iqama number is expired and my passport i still here in saudi and want to go home the reason i stay is to continue to support my 3 children because am a single mother even it is difficult to find jobs the reason why i left my employer are :not able to give my salary on time and very demanding always shouting and very rude there children am not so happy to serve them my heart broken every day.and i ask u to help me how to exit.pls help me i stay 6 years and i really miss my children .thank u AND MORE POWER TO ALL GOD BLESS U ALWAYS.

  9. Hello,
    I have a relative that got seriously ill while in cuba. He was sent home because they can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. Tests have shown terrifying results from brain tumor to TB. He was instructed to check in a hospital that owwa would accommodate, National kidney and Transplant Institute and that he would have to sign a waiver of some kind. To make this email short, we did not do what they ask, instead we took him to St Lukes. They did some testings and found that his lungs got infected and the infection worked it’s way to the brain that caused all him problem such as dizzyness and vomitting, among other things. My question is, how do we get OWWA and his work to pay for his expenses. I apologize if you are not the right place to ask this questions but I am hoping that you can direct us to the appropreate place.

    Zenaida Beard

    • Hi Zen,

      Your relative is a seaman, right? If ever the answer is Yes, then he is a member of OWWA. Please approach OWWA main office in Ortigas, an OWWA/Philhealth member is covered with existing benefits under OWWA-Medicare.

      Kindly contact the agency of your relative regarding other medical benefits that could possibly be provided by the employer/manning or shipping lines your relative is working.

      If you have time, pass at POEA office and ask for the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) re: Amended Migrant Workers Act 10022 where manning and recruitment agencies must provide necessity insurance coverage direct to seafarers.

      If ever he is not a seaman, please inquire OWWA Philhealth medical benefits and inquire also Cuban insurance /coverage/laws for foreign workers.



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