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 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)

658 thoughts on “OWWA / POEA

  1. Hi po. Ano po bang pwede kong gawin in my situation? Dito po aq sa dubai ngaun kinansel po aq ng una kong amo naka 3 po akong amo at ung sa pangatlo q pong amo eh nag run away po aq dhil sa di nila pagtrato ng tama. Hawak q po ang passport at cancellation q na naka indicate po na within 1 month i need to change my status or live of the country. So mageexit po sna aq sa oman pero nung pag dating q po sa border ng dubai na trace nila na kinasuhan po aq ng agency q, ano po pwede q gawin help me pls.. kinuha ng police ang passport q binigyan ña q ng xerox ng passport q at ung report nila at dalhin q daw po sa airport ng dubai alamin q daw po qng anong case ang sinampa sakin natatakot po aq baka qng anong gawin nila sakin. 1wik lang binigay ng police para ayusin ang poblema q. Just help me po pls.

    • Tawagan nyo po ang ating Embahada or Assistance to National section dahil police matters na po ang inyong problema. Tawagan nyo agad.

      Assistance to National (ATN) Police/Court: 050-207 9988 or +971 50 207 9898 or sa mga numero sa ibaba at pa connect kayo sa ATN.

      02 639 0006 / Emergency No. +971 50 813 7836

  2. Kahapon, 17 August 2016. naka chat ko yung pinsan ko, yung anak nya dito sa Riyadh 2 months naraw na hindi pinapasahod ng amo nya. DH ang trabaho ng pamangkin ko. Ano kaya ang magandang gawin ko para matulungan ko sya? nandito rin ako sa Riyadh na nagtratrabaho.

    • Adolf, bisitahan mo ang POLO, hanapin mo si Labatt Resty Dela Fuente dumaan ka kay Admin. Staff Mimah at sabihin mo na pinapunta kita upang e-report ang tungkol sa problema ng anak ng iyong pinsan. Kunin mo lahat ang detalye ng employer, address at contact info ng iyong pamangkin.

      • 19 August 2016, 0300am KSA time. Nka chat ko dalawang kapatid nya, wala na raw silang kontak sa kanya. Sa FB Messenger ng pamangkin ko binigay ko number ko dito sa Riyadh, pero hindi nya ako tinatawagan o mag txt. Rejoice International Manpower ang agency niya sa pinas sabi sa akin ng kapatid nya.

          • Gov’t suspends agency over OFW’s rape
            The government has barred the recruitment agency that deployed a Filipina who died in Saudi Arabia after being raped from recruiting and deploying other overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abroad.
            “We have commenced an investigation and in the meantime, we have suspended (domestic helper Irma) Edloy’s Philippine recruiter,” Rejoice Recruitment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Cacdac said yesterday.
            Cacdac noted that the POEA has also suspended the license of the Edloy’s Saudi recruiter as well as blacklisted her Arab employer from hiring other Filipino workers.
            Edloy suffered a stroke after seeing her alleged rapist at the hospital where she was confined. She died a few days later.
            Based on initial investigation, Edloy arrived in Riyadh last July 28.
            Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said days before her death, Edloy called her local employer to seek help for immediate repatriation.
            “It appeared that she was maltreated by her employer, that is why she asked for immediate repatriation,”Maglunsod said.
            He also noted that a number of OFWs deployed by Rejoice have previously sought repatriation, prompting the government to suspend its license.
            The government is undertaking efforts to repatriate Edloy’s remains, but Maglunsod said this may take weeks because of the ongoing investigation in Saudi Arabia. – Mayen Jaymalin

  3. Good day po..dh po ako dito Bahrain ang agency ko sa pinas gumastos ng passport ko pero kinaltasan ako ng 1 month salary deduction.100bd.kung pera sa pinas ay 12,600 sabi nila d naman dapat dahil employer na ang sumagot non..yong sahod po naming 100bd samantalang nakalagay sa kontrata ay 150 bd.wla rn d’off ..

    • Ang pasaporte po ay kargo ng OFW kasama na dito ang NBI/Police/Barangay Clearance; NSO authenticated birth certificate. Pero sa halagang siningil ng agency for facilitating your passport on your behalf ay sobra na sa tamang fees P950 to P1,200 kung ikaw mismo ang nag apply nito.

      Ang standard sahod ng FHSW or domestic worker ay USD 400.00 which is equivalent to BHD 150.00. Ang pagbaba nito ng BHD 100.00 ay isang contract substitution at hindi makatarungan ang walang day off.

      Talk to your agency in Philippines and or isumbong sa ating POLO diyan sa Bahrain ang inyong agency upang mabigyan ng leksyon sa paglabag ng POEA Rules and regulations.

  4. Good Day!

    My father is working as an offset operator before in Dammam, Saudi Arabia since 1995. I am not sure if he has the same position or employer when he went back to Saudi way back 2003. Since then, we didn’t hear anything from him. Also financial support from him was gone. We tried to call him on his number that we have but we can’t reach him. Last year, someone message me that he was hospitalized in Saudi and in a critical condition. Then his friend in Saudi told us that he had a Bypass operation and it was successful. We were given a number where we can contact my father and so we did. We were able to talk to him and found out that he has another family there and he’s supporting them since the year that he stopped supporting us, his legal family.

    I am hoping that you could advice me on what we can do on this. We would like to know kung pano kami makakapaghabol sa father ko.

    Thank you.

  5. Hi po dh po ako sa tabuk,saudi 1yr.at 3mos.n po ako dto pro gusto kn po umuwi kc my emergency s anak ko s pinas..pro ayw po aq pyagan ng amo ko.kong magpipilit dw ako umuwi bayaran ko dw un nagastos nla akin papunta dto tama po b un.ano po mapapayo nyo please pi need ko n makauwi agad.

    • Rose, kausapin po ninyo ulit ng masinsinan ang inyong employer upang mapayagan kang umuwi at bumalik. Alam mo nasa diskresyon kasi ng employer kung papayag or hindi kung ang pag-uusapan ang emergency leave sa Saudi Arabia. Wala po sa batas na ang emergency leave ay dapat ibigay sa worker. Nasa employer pa rin ang pasya.

      Kung ang pagpapaalam mo ay umuwi for good or dina e-continue ang kontrata, ibang usapan na po ito dahil hindi mo tinapos ang kontratang napagkasunduan kaya may karapatan silang hingan ka ng kabayaran sa kanilang nagastos sa pagkuha sa iyo sa Pilipinas.

  6. Hi Sir. Gusto ko lng maitanong tungkol sa paghawak ng employer namin nga pasaporte ko. Ang pagkakaalam ko bawal eto. Hiningi nila sa akin ang pasaporte pagdating ko sa worksite for safety reasons daw. Nasa papua new guinea po pla ako. Ung employer ko isang malaysian-chinese. Sa pagkakahawak nila sa pasaporte naman parang hinahawakan din nila ako sa leeg. Dapat sundin kung ano gusto nila. Maari ko bang kunin ang pasaporte ko sa kanila? Paano po. Ano po ang dapat gawin para ma tigil na tong practices nila.

    • Tama po kayo, hindi dapat hawakan ang pasaporte ng isang OFW dahil ito ay pag-aari ng Philippine government, the holder being a mere possessor. Dapat po ninyong isumbong ito sa ating Embahada upang mahinto ang ganitong practices. You can contact our Philippine Embassy at Port Moresby Papua New Guinea in the following contact details:

      Telephone: (675) 325-6577 and (675) 325-6414
      Fax: (675) 323-1803
      E-mail: pompe@datec.net.pg

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