12.10.2015: MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Leo Cacdac advised presidential candidates to put on their agenda innovations in existing electronic systems for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“Off the top of my head, [they should include in their platforms the] further enhancement of electronic systems so it’s easier for OFWs to update their registration profiles. It’s easier for government agencies to keep track who are the documented OFWs, as to who are licensed recruiters, who are the illegal recruiters,” Cacdac told Rappler in an interview on Wednesday, December 9.
Various electronic programs are already in place that aim not only to ease registration processes for OFWs but to protect them from illegal recruitment as well.
The POEA has an online portal where Filipinos seeking employment overseas may register through the POEA’s Government Placement Branch. Licensed recruiters are likewise required to register online. (READ: POEA to recruiters: Use ‘electronic systems’ in hiring OFWs)
In partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment, the POEA also implements a program called Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System, which allows vacationing OFWs who are rehired by their employers to secure an overseas employment certificate digitally.
Licensed recruiters are also required by the Philippine government to have an official Facebook page to serve as a communication platform for deployed house service workers, to prevent disputes, to endorse complaints, and to submit reports to the POEA. (PODCAST: Ethical recruitment of OFWs)
“We still could do so much more in terms of improved access, meaning how to get into the system, overcoming certain glitches with respect to certain cases where some OFWs get disconnected as soon as they are connected, uploading of photographs, facilitation of the electronic payment facility, small things like that,” said Cacdac. (READ: ‘Slow’ gov’t process makes OFWs fall for illegal recruiters)
The POEA chief also said the presidential candidates should make OFW concerns an election issue.
“I think OFW concerns matter to not just the OFWs themselves but [for] many Filipino families. Their welfare and protection is utmost,” Cacdac said.
POEA records show that in 2014, there were 1,832,668 OFWs – 1,430,842 land-based and 401,826 sea-based.
‘Push the OFW agenda’
For the POEA chief, OFWs would need the next president to have a “strong stance” in the protection of the rights of migrant workers as well as the facilitation of ethical recruitment. to read more>>>>