JEDDAH — The Philippine community in the Kingdom is eagerly awaiting the forthcoming visit of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to Riyadh next week. The three-day visit will begin on Monday, diplomatic sources in Riyadh confirmed.
Duterte is keen to meet the maximum number of his countrymen during the visit in order to thank them for voting him to office.
The sources told Saudi Gazette that a community meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 12, at a leading hotel in Riyadh.
Preparations for the meeting are in full swing, they added.
The Philippine Embassy will invite around 2,500 leaders of community organizations and officials of Philippine schools across the Kingdom. “We are eager and looking forward to meet with the president next week in Riyadh,” said Gerwin Sundungan, a social worker and OFW Global activist in Jeddah.
Around 200 community leaders from Jeddah alone will meet the president in Riyadh, said Sundungan, who has received an invitation to attend the meeting.
“We feel that OFWs can partner with government in investment projects in the Philippines,” said Ray Umel, national coordinator for Saudi Arabia of PRRD, an umbrella organization for Filipinos who supported the president.
As the president is committed to bring development to the nation, OFWs can contribute their rich expertise in technology which they gained working in the Kingdom, he told Saudi Gazette.
“We hope that in coming years the number of OFWs would dwindle as the growth rate is improving in the country under the leadership of Duterte,” said Alex Veloso Bello, president of OFW Congress in Riyadh.
He has said the Philippine community has great expectations from the president and it sincerely believes in all of his efforts, especially in favor of OFWs.
This is the first time Duterte is visiting the Kingdom after winning the presidential elections of May 2016. He had won 76.55 percent of valid votes polled in Kingdom, the highest majority of any leader. His election campaign was largely funded by the Filipino community in the Kingdom.
No other president enjoyed such widespread OFW support as Duterte did. Looking after the welfare of OFWs was on top of his campaign promises. His first order to the Department of Foreign Affairs as newly elected president was the improvement of services for OFWs. He ordered cash assistance of SR5.3 million to OFWs employed by crisis-hit construction companies in the Kingdom.
Duterte is from Davao, Mindanao, from where a significant number of OFWs working in Saudi Arabia, especially in its western region, hail from.
Philippine Foreign Secretary visits Kingdom ahead of Duterte
| Published — Monday 23 January 2017
RIYADH: Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay Jr. visited Saudi Arabia on Saturday in preparation for a visit by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Yasay Jr. “came to Saudi Arabia to meet the Filipino community and to listen to their concerns, issues and aspirations, which he will relay to President Duterte before he comes,” Philippine Embassy Charge d’Affaires Iric C. Arribas told Arab News on Sunday.
Yasay Jr. headed a delegation that included Assistant Secretary Hajceleen Quintana and Director Germinia Usudan, top officials at the Office of Middle East and African Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Voltaire Pingol and Rene Montebon, special assistants to the foreign secretary.
Arribas said Yasay Jr. expressed his appreciation to the Filipino community for the warm welcome extended to him and his delegation.
During the meeting, Yasay Jr. reminded the community to be responsible to the host government, which welcomed them to help the Kingdom’s development.
The embassy estimated the number of Filipino workers in the Kingdom at close to a million.
Arribas said the Filipino community is looking forward to the visit of Duterte, and the embassy will ensure his visit is memorable.
Consul General Imelda Panolong joined Yasay Jr. and his delegation, and Philippine Embassy officials, in meeting with the community. Panolong was accompanied by Consul Rodney Jonas Sumague and Vice Consul Alex Estomo.
One-stop service center for OFWs opens August 15
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is launching a one-stop shop on Monday, August 15, where all government frontline services are made accessible to Filipinos who are currently working or planning to work overseas.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said this is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to make it easier for OFWs to avail the services of the government.
Bello said the One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (OSSCO) is located at the ground floor of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s main office at Blas F. Ople Building in Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City.
He said the one-stop service center is seen to reduce transportation expenses of OFWs and shorten the processing time of their documents.
Aside from making available to OFWs information on their respective programs and services and responding to queries of clients, the various government offices’ services to OFWs are as follows:
1. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
– Passport Services
– Passport Validity Extension for Balik-Manggagawa (vacationing Workers)
2. Overseas Welfare Workers Administration (OWWA)
– Processing of OWWA Membership/Renewal of Membership
3. Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA)
– Assistance for Competency Assessment
– Verification of Certificates and Special Order
– Assistance for Replacement of National Certificates (NC)/ Certificates of Competency (COC)
– Training Assistance and Scholarship Program
4. Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
– Issuance of Professional License
5. Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)
– Issuance/ Revalidation of Seaman’s Book
6. Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF)
– Processing of Pag-ibig Membership
7. Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC)
– Payment of Philhealth Contribution
– Member registration and updating
8. Social Security System (SSS)
– Registration and Membership Data Amendment
– Acceptance of Loan and Benefits Claim Applications
– Loan Verification and Status
– UMID Capturing and Card Releasing
– Response to Queries
9. Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
– Processing and Copy Issuance of
* Certificate of Live Birth
* Certificate of Marriage
* Certificate of Death
* Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
10. Bureau of Immigration (BI)
– Departure Clearance Information
11. National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
– Issuance of NBI Clearance
12. Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
– Verification and Authentication of School Credentials
13. Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA)
– Travel Tax Payment
– Processing of Travel Tax Exemption and Reduced Travel Tax
– Response to Queries
14. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
– Documentation of Workers
(Landbased and Seabased)
– Documentation of Workers-On-Leave/Balik-Manggagawa
– Registration of Landbased Worker-Applicants
– Verification/Certification of OFW Records
– Provision of Legal Assistance
– Response to Queries
Bello said one-stop centers will be set up also in all regions spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Offices in coordination with the regional offices of the agencies cited above, local government units, and other partners and stakeholders.
The OSSCO in Ortigas and the regional offices will be open from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday to Friday, or in its discretion, with prior approval of the POEA or DOLE Regional Office, may extend the services during weekends and holidays.
The POEA has established a similar one-stop OFW processing center at its premises in 2003 as required by the 2002 POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Land-based Overseas Workers (Part III, Rule III, Section 10). /END
POEA News Release (August 14, 2016)
11 August 2016 – Consulate officials led by Consul General Imelda Panolong met with Mr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Alolayan, General Director of the Ministry of Labor (MOL) in Makkah region, to discuss the cases of stranded Filipino workers in light of the recent directive of Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, to hasten the resolution of cases of stranded expatriate workers. During the meeting Mr. Alolayan said that the MOL has already dispatched teams to the different camps of Saudi Oger to assist the stranded workers of the company. They have been providing food, water and medical assistance to the workers of Saudi Oger in all its camps in Jeddah.
To resolve the case of the stranded workers in Saudi Oger, Mr. Alolayan said the workers have the option to either go home on final exit or transfer to another company. The Saudi government, through MOL and Immigration (Jawazat), will renew expired residence permits (Iqama), and provide exit visas and plane tickets to the workers who wish to leave. MOL noted that several companies have approached them offering to absorb workers from Saudi Oger. MOL shall facilitate the matching of the job requirements of these companies with those workers who want to be transferred. For workers with unpaid salaries and benefits, they may issue a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) in favor of the Consulate to process the entitlements due them. Workers who are not affected and do not experience delays in their salaries may continue to work. Mr. Alolayan promised to coordinate closely with the Philippine Consulate to facilitate the early resolution of the cases of the stranded Filipino workers.
Also present during the meeting were Consul Rodney Jonas L. Sumague, Labor Attaché Jainal T. Rasul, Jr. and Mr. Muhammad Mahmour S. Qassim (Translator/Interpreter/Conciliator).
Prior to the meeting with MOL, Consul General Panolong, Consul Sumague, Labor Attaché Rasul and Welfare Officer Angel Cruz, Jr., met with officials of the Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) to discuss the cases of affected Filipino workers in the company. Present during the meeting representing SBG were Mr. Khaled J. Thabet, HR Support Services Manager; Mr. Abdullah Y. Balkhair, Talent Management and Development Manager; Mr. Abdulrahman Alsurawi, Head of Complaints Unit; and Ms. Rocel Castro-Samillano, Recruitment Coordinator.
Mr. Thabet informed the Consulate officials that 2,429 Filipino workers are presently still working under SBG in the whole of K.S.A. while 1,069 have signified their intention to go home. Their exit visas and final settlement of benefits are expected to be issued in 2-3 weeks. He gave the assurance that SBG is able to facilitate the exit visas, paying remaining salaries and benefits and providing plane tickets to their workers who want to go home. They may execute a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) in favor of the Consulate to follow up their entitlements if they are unable to wait for its release. Mr. Thabet added that SBG continues to regularly provide food to their workers. Nevertheless, they will investigate reports that there are some project camps which have not been given food and water as raised by the Consulate officials.
On the future of SBG, Mr. Thabet said the company is optimistic that it will recover very soon. Consul General Panolong noted that the 2,429 Filipino workers who opted to continue to work is a positive sign that augurs well for the recovery of the company. Mr. Thabet responded that SBG feels fortunate that the Filipino workers are staying and he further assured the Consulate officials of closer coordination to address the concerns of Filipino workers. END
This blog post is to inform our fellow OFWs that the POEA rules and regulations governing the recruitment and employment of landbased OFWs have been revised on February 2016.
Some of the answers to our readers inquires or salient portion of the provisions of the revised POEA rules and regulations 2016 are herein provided for our guide.
A: Disciplinary Action against Principal/Employer
Salient portions of some provisions that fellow OFWs should note that principals and or employer unauthorized/unjustified collection of fee or illegal exaction from OFWs through whatever means, including salary deduction are serious offense and grounds for disciplinary actions against employers that could lead to permanent disqualification and delisting from the roster of accredited principal or employer.
In the above provision otherwise, OFWs should be reminded that a placement fee “may be charged against the Overseas Filipino Worker equivalent to one (1) month basic salary as specified in the POEA approved contract”. However, in Saudi Arabia, the employer’s usual practice has to pay the worker placement fee to the recruitment agency and to be paid by the OFW through salary deduction. There are many employers in the Middle East that are doing this kind of arrangements. It may be allowed with a written acceptance by the OFW. But be noted that the salary deduction scheme is not allowed in other countries of destination.
Permanent disqualification of the principal to hire OFWs includes “substitution or alteration of the POEA approved contract to the prejudice of the Overseas Filipino Worker.” Therefore, OFWs should always be aware that changing of the agreed terms and conditions of POEA approve contract is against POEA rules and regulations.
B: Disciplinary Action against Recruitment agency
Be aware that that recruitment agencies are subject to suspension of license if found “collecting any fee from a worker without issuing the official receipt clearly showing the amount paid and the purpose for which payment was made.”
Provisions that may lead to the suspension of the recruitment agency’s license in the revised POEA rules and regulations includes:
“Substituting or altering, to the prejudice of the worker, a POEA-approved employment contract, from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the expiration of the same, without the approval of the POLO or POEA”.
Therefore, any alteration or substitution of the agreed employment contract terms and conditions if the case may arise should be approved by our POLO and or POEA.
“Withholding or denying release of travel or other pertinent documents from a worker despite demand and failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the worker in connection with his/her documentation and processing for purposes of deployment, where deployment does not take place without any fault on the part of the worker.”
All the above offense committed by the recruitment agency may result in the revoking or suspension of their license or whatever penalties as to be concluded by the POEA.
C: Disciplinary Action against Overseas Filipino Workers
If there is a disciplinary action to be taken against employers and recruitment agency, an OFW should also be aware that penalties await us if an offense is committed during the pre-employment period.
The number one that we should be aware of is “submitting, furnishing or using false information or documents or any form of misrepresentation for the purpose of a job application or employment.” The penalties are categorized into three in which could lead to permanent disqualification from participation in the overseas employment program.
Another offense that I found relevant to many of our readers’ inquiries is the “unjustified refusal to continue his/her application after signing an employment contract, or to depart for the work site after all employment and travel documents have been duly approved by the appropriate government agencies.” Penalties could be a “suspension in a certain period of time and permanent disqualification from participation in the overseas employment program.”
But in this particular scenario the POEA will determine the offense upon review of the complaint raised by the recruitment agency. If an offense is committed, it means unjustifiable reasons for withdrawal of documents or refusal to depart for the work site may result in disqualification of OFWs in future application to work overseas.
Primary Responsibility to Repatriate Overseas Filipino Workers. – Notwithstanding the provisions on compulsory insurance coverage as required by law, the repatriation of an Overseas Filipino Worker or his/her remains, and the transport of his/her personal effects shall be the primary responsibility of the principal/employer and licensed recruitment agency that recruited and/or deployed the work. This entails the obligation to cover repatriation and attendant costs, including airfare and immigration fines/penalties. This obligation shall be without prior determination of the cause of the need to repatriate the Overseas Filipino Worker.
However, kindly be informed that the POEA Revised Rules and Regulations says “after the Overseas Filipino Worker has returned to the country, the principal/employer or licensed recruitment agency may, however, recover the cost of repatriation from the Overseas Filipino Worker if the termination of the employment was due solely to the Overseas Filipino Worker’s fault.”
Click here>>> RULE XIII REPATRIATION OF WORKERS (OMNIBUS RULES AND REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING THE MIGRANT WORKERS AND OVERSEAS FILIPINOS ACT OF 1995, AS AMENDED BY REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10022)
Click here>>> OFW Compulsory Insurance or OFWs Mandatory Insurance Coverage.
Click here>>> STANDARD EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT FOR VARIOUS SKILLS (No. 14 : TERMINATION)
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>>>>
In Philippine May 2016 National Election, registered Overseas Absentee Voters should focus on finding out who among in the national candidates for President to Vice President and Senators worthy of our vote.
The OFW sector should be well represented by those legislators who are really concerned with issues in relation to the general welfare of Overseas Filipinos or OF. Please note that I referred Overseas Filipinos as Filipino Immigrants with dual citizenship, Filipino migrant workers and land based and seafarers.
Sad to say that there are few OFW supporters in the legislative body of our government. In the 16th Congress, the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs are comprised of 35 members, the 4 among them are identified as OFW advocates. Bills authored and co-authored by those OFW advocates are still pending or referred to another house committee for evaluation. Some of those bills even lasted for 2 to 3 years on their shelves. Undoubtedly, it will never be deliberated or acted upon or even reach on the second reading or be included in the order of business. Remember, that every House Bills are still subject of Senate action which undergoes the same legislative procedures.
Would the above scenario be corrected? Yes! Why not? The legislator who is an OFW advocate, an author or just a co-author of the bill can influence the members of the committee being referred, to speed up the process by conducting immediate public hearings on the proposed legislation. Non-government organizations, expert on migration, OFW/Seafarers organizations (overseas and at home) or individuals whose advocacies focused on the main issues and concerns of OFWs should likewise be pro-active to pressure the members of the committee to move to the next level of the process. Sorry to say that some of our OFW advocates in the House and the Senate are busy focusing on other matters in their other areas or field of expertise. Some of those bills can be included in the lists of the “Silliest Proposed Laws Philippine Lawmakers Tried to Pass.”
According to “The Action Guide for Advocacy and Citizen Participation”, Policy advocacy is an initiative to focus exclusively on the policy agenda and a specific policy goal. These advocates usually assume that policy change will produce real change on the ground.
So, in the coming national election, I arrived into a simplest form of identifying those politicians in line with our cause by rating them on how they managed to support on certain OFW issues at the House and the Senate. Others can be identified on how many bills they authored or co-authored during their incumbencies. How many of those bills signed into law, how many resolutions they filed for the general welfare of Filipinos overseas.
I personally categorized the following 2016 aspiring candidates at the national level into four (4) categories:
CLICK HERE for the Official candidates for Senator in the May 9, 2016 national elections.
CLICK HERE for the organizations participating in the 2016 party-list elections.
OFW representation in Congress
The Philippine Election 2016 is fast approaching. It will be held on May next year and being at home, I can feel and smell the preparation of some politicians in the surrounding community that I belong. Even in TV ads, some Presidentiables are busy making their own “papogi points” to the public. Of course, it’s part of their strategy to win the public sentiment on national issues at hand.
Talking about OFW Political empowerment, the OFWs were able to get a seat in Congress through the OFW Family Party List group who made it in the last 2013 election. Truly, we are proud that OFWs are finally represented in Congress since 14 years when former Congressman Sid Aligada and Omar Fajardo were appointed by former President Fidel Ramos to represent OFWs in the Philippine lower house of Congress.
But frankly, I can’t feel of any changes being made or introduced on the various issues of government policies that concerns our OFWs. I am not against Congressman Roy Seneres and in fairness, the good Congressman filed several bills in Congress since he assumed office yet none of them made it to the President’s desk. Surprisingly, I read an online article that he is eyeing for 2016 Presidential election. That, I have so much doubt that he can even reach number 10 in the list of the highest votes for the Presidency. Well, for me 750 thousand votes are not enough to change the course of history from Congress to Presidency. My sincere apology to the former Ambassador, that’s only my opinion and I am entitled to it. However, if the good former Ambassador will stick to where he is now and ask his colleagues in Congress to prioritize his bills, then Sir, you have my one vote again.
OFW Political Empowerment in barangay level
During the 2013 barangay election there were 53,786,223 registered Filipino voters according to COMELEC website. It means out of 101 Million Philippine population (taken from worldometers) half of our population are registered voters.
How many per cent of OFW family comprised a mere barangay? According to my neighbour who works at the local office of the Philippine Statistics Authority, in one particular barangay in Cebu, OFWs is comprised of 5% of the barangay population. Each family of that 5% population has 4 to 5 family members who are registered voters. Good enough for an OFW (former OFW or OFW family members or relatives) who wants to run as a barangay councilman with a 2,500 votes for a barangay population that consist of 10,000 registered voters.
Perhaps, the continuing saga in our fight for OFW political empowerment must start in barangay level. So, by representing the concerns of OFWs in a barangay or in many barangays around the Philippine archipelago, then the national scene will follow.
According to the April to September 2014 statistical report by Grace Bersales of Philippine Statistics Authority, there was an estimated 2.3 million Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs/OFWs) or those with existing work contract comprised 96.0 per cent (2.2 million) of the total OFWs. The rest (4.0% or 92,000) worked overseas without contract.
The total of 2,392,000 OFWs plus five of their families back home can even move a mountain apart to put a President in Malacanang with a total of 11,960,000 votes; near enough to what President Aquino garnered in 2010 presidential election.
Well that’s only a simple presumption, nonetheless Benjamin Banneker, an African American scientist once said “presumption should never make us neglect that which appears easy to us, nor despair make us lose courage at the sight of difficulties.”
That’s the reason why I am advocating Overseas Absentee Voting registration and requesting those 975,263 Overseas Absentee Voters worldwide to update your voting status, especially to those 237,504 registered voters who failed to vote in the previous Philippine national election.
To my fellow OFWs, talk to your families back home, ask them to participate in the October 2016 barangay election and through them, we can now empower by representing our OFW sector in the barangay level. – BongA
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
RIYADH: Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and Saudi Deputy Labor Minister Mufarrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani signed a labor agreement Sunday on the hiring of Filipino household service workers (HSWs). Al-Haqbani signed on behalf of Labor Minister Adel Fakeih.“The agreement is historic and today is a very significant day in Philippine-Saudi bilateral relations,” said Baldoz. The agreement is the first by the Saudi Ministry of Labor with a manpower-supplying country.
“This agreement heralds an era of stronger bilateral labor cooperation between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia for the protection and welfare of Filipino HSWs in the Kingdom,” she said.
The agreement comes after Saudi Arabia and the Philippines agreed on a standard labor contract last year, which shall govern the employment of HSWs in the Kingdom.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that the agreement is for five years and can be extended automatically for similar periods. It will also incorporate the formation of a joint working group to meet on a regular basis to discuss and resolve the problems of HSWs who include housemaids, baby sitters, laundrywomen, family drivers, cooks and gardeners.
“We expect that 60,000 out of an estimated 670,000 OFWs in Saudi Arabia will immediately benefit from this agreement, which lays down areas of cooperation between the two countries,” Baldoz said.
The agreement includes the following:
1. A mutually acceptable recruitment and deployment system;
2. The recruitment of domestic workers through agencies that practice ethical recruitment and are licensed by their respective governments;
3. Prohibition of charging or deducting any cost attendant to recruitment and deployment from the worker’s salary;
4. The right of recourse to authorities in case of contractual disputes in accordance with applicable laws and regulations;
5. Legal measures against recruitment offices, companies or agencies for any violation of applicable laws, rules and regulations; and
6. Resolution of any issue arising from the implementation and enforcement of the agreement.