News Release August 8, 2016
POEA Board exempts qualified Balik-Manggagawa from OEC requirement Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday announced that the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, of which he is the Chairperson, has issued Governing Board Resolution No. 12, Series of 2016, exempting a group of overseas Filipino workers from the overseas employment certificate (OEC) requirement on an experimental basis starting 15 September 2016.
Aside from Secretary Bello, POEA Administrator and Governing Board Vice-Chair Hans Leo J. Cacdac, and members Felix M. Oca, Estrelita S. Hizon, Alexander E. Asuncion, and Milagros Isabel A. Cristobal, signed the Resolution.
Bello said the POEA Board issued the Resolution following the directive of President Duterte to streamline processes in the deployment of OFWs, to afford them facility and ease in transactions before government offices.
The Secretary said those exempted on a pilot basis are returning workers who are: (1) returning to the same employer and job site, and listed in the POEA database of OFWs; or (2) hired through POEA’s Government Placement Branch.
Bello said the POEA is already implementing the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System which has eliminated the long lines at its offices, but emphasized a further need and growing demand to enhance the system for workers returning to the same employer and job site.
POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 12, series of 2016, states that an OFW BalikManggagawa or returning worker returning to the same employer or job site shall, prior to departure, shall register at bmonline.ph, and provide personal and employment particulars to validate if the worker is indeed exempted from obtaining the OEC.
The worker’s updated profile will be forwarded to the Bureau of Immigration, to serve as basis for clearance to exit the country without payment of processing fees.
Bello said workers who are not exempted from getting the OEC during the time of registration will have to set an appointment with any POEA office or processing center.
A worker who proceeds to the airport without prior registration with the BM Online System will be referred by the Bureau of Immigration to the POEA’s Labor Assistance Counter (LAC) for evaluation, to determine if the worker may be cleared for departure or be subjected to further completion of travel documents.
One month after the pilot or experimental period, POEA Administrator Cacdac shall report to Secretary Bello and the POEA Governing Board about implementation of the stated Balik-Manggagawa OEC exemptions. /END
During the Filipino Community meeting with DOLE Secretary Baldoz at the Philippine Embassy, the Honorable POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac was with her. Admin. Cacdac announced to the attendees about the POEA OEC-BM Online Processing. It is indeed a good project by the POEA, and I salute POEA Admin Cacdac for this very useful initiative.
I humbly request our government particularly those agencies overseeing the plight of OFWs to start planning or think something that could be beneficial for us OFWs rather than issuing a Memorandum Circular forcing us OFWs to pay P550 terminal fee in the cost of an airline ticket.
By the way, thanks to the court ruling last November 19 issued by Judge Tingaraan Guiling of Pasay RTC Branch 109 by declaring MIAA’s Memorandum Circular No. 8 as “unenforceable” for a mere reason that the Memorandum Circular did not comply with the legal requirement that it must be published in the Official Gazette or any newspaper of general circulation 15 days before its implementation.
I’m sure MIAA will file a motion for reconsideration if allowed by court and I just hope our court will later rule the MC No. 8 with finality that it is “unconstitutional” in violation to Republic Act 10022 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of. 1995) that prohibits the collection of travel tax and terminal fee for OFWs who possess valid Overseas Exemption Certificates.
Back to OEC-BM Online Processing, I tried to apply online but unfortunately the facility only caters OFWs to POEA offices in the Philippines. It means up to this writing, those OFWs who wish to set an appointment for your OEC to POLO offices at the site of employment has yet to be operational online. You can see below screen shot of the online facility in red arrow showing that the said locations are “coming soon”. To those OFWs already in the Philippines, please try to point your location to your areas where you are now and check the availability of the given dates to set an appointment after you’ve done filling out the online form.
Surely it can lessen the waiting time because an OFW has the slot, but just to make sure you’ll be there on time and you have all the necessary documents with you like passport and previous payment receipts as required in obtaining an Overseas Employment Certificate.
To those who haven’t visited the site online, please click this link: OEC Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing and simply follow the instruction.
To POEA, MABUHAY Kayo! Keep up the good work in the service to OFWs. – BongA
Fig. 1- POEA Appointment Offices outside PHL “Coming Soon”
Fig. 2 – Slots Available in POEA Cebu Office