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)

617 thoughts on “OWWA / POEA

  1. Good day ofwempowerment,
    I would like to ask help kung saan po pwedeng magreport ng case of a relative sa Egypt, she is in a bad situation po kasi with her Egyptian husband. Thank you po.

    • Puwede po siyag makipag-ugnayan sa ating Assistanc to Nationals Section ng Phil. Embassy in Egypt. Tel. Nos.: (+20-122) 743-6472; (+20-128) 895-1110.

      Also she can visit our Embassy at:

      Villa 28 Road 200 Degla, Maadi.
      Office Hours:
      Sunday – Thursday (Except Philippine and Egyptian Holidays)
      8:00 a.m. – 12:00 nn (Embassy closes during lunch break: 12- 1PM)
      1:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m.

  2. Saan po ba malapit ang POEA dito sa Khamis mushayt Saudi arabia..anu po contact number or email address para makapag compalin dito sa work ko about sa contrata namin

    • Ang Khamis Mushayt ay part ng Assir Region. Ang ating Philippine Consulate in Jeddah ang may jurisdiction nito. Tungkol sa kontrata tawagan po ninyo ang ating POLO.

      Ang contact information ng PC-Jeddah ay ang mga sumusonod:

      General Information : +966 (0) 12 6198478
      Hotline nos. (24/7) 055 5219613 / 053 4240362

      Hotline 056 981 9720
      Email polo.jeddah321@gmail.com

      Hotline 056 981 9720
      Email owwa_jeddah@yahoo.com

  3. hi kindly need your help please ung boy friend ko po finish contract na sa amo nya arabo magaswa then gusto nya mgwork sa ibang amo nm driver po sya dun., kpag finish contract po wla bbyran pero po sya hinihinhian ng bayad 16 to 20k dhs para marelease sya so need nya humananp ng ibang amo na kaya magbayad ng ganun so wka po sya mahanap n kayang magbayd ng ganun., Gusto dw ng amo nya ibigay mgwork pdn bf ko.sknila ayw n bf ko kse imbis na driver lang sya all around pa., kung uuwi nm sy pinas at icacancel ibanned dw syaa n amo nya pra hbd n makablik ng uae.. nsan hustisya pls kindly help

    • Sabihin mo sa BF mo na makipag-ugnayan sa ating POLO Office sa Abu-Dhabi. Ito ang mga contact infos:

      Basic Information of the POLO-Abu Dhabi

      Address :
      Villa 2, W-48, Street No. 8, Sector 2-23, Plot 51, P. O. Box 3215,
      Al Qubaisat, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

      Tel Nos.:
      056 442 7034 (LABOR)
      056 194 4186 (OEC)
      050 833 5163; 056 879 8029 (Employment Contract & Job Order)
      056 580 0726 ; 056 695 0664 ; 056 660 4383 (OWWA)
      056 116 2637 (OWWA Membership)

      Emails : polo1@emirates.net.ae / kabisig@eim.ae

      Office Timings :
      8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
      and 1:00 – 5:00 p.m., Sundays to Thursdays

  4. hello. hingi lng ako ng advice. ung both parents ko ay married na. and this month plang inamin ng tatay ko sa nanay ko na my jowa sya. since feb 2016 nya pa pla un girlfriend. tpos ngaun gsto ng tatay ko ibenta ung bahay nmin, kunin lahat ng nga naipundar nya na hawak ni mama. at ung ung magaling kong tatay nsa manila kasama ung babae nia na mas bata pa ky mama. at hndi pa nmn dw buntis pero my plano dw sila. halos nag breakdown c mama doon, at tnext ko ang tatay ko na pag namatay c mama never ko sya mpapatwad, at ang reply nya ay khit anong mangyari sa nanay mo hnding hndi aq pupunta dyan.

    • Kung legal po ang kasal ng inyong parent, puwede pong magreklamo ang inyong mama sa korte at pag napatunayan ng korte na may paglabag sa ating Revised Penal Code ang inyong ama, ang korte ay puwedeng mag order ng “hold departure” sa bureau of immigration upang ang iyong ama ay hindi maka-alis sa ibang bansa at harapin ang kanyang kaso sa korte. Ang payo ko humingi ng tulong sa isang abogado or sa PAO (Public Attorneys Office).

  5. Gud Day po May tanong lang po ako nag apply po ako ng brunei last mrach 2016 pina medical nila po ako before end of march after po nun sabi sakin mga 3weeks lang daw ang proseso peo july napo ngaun wala padin clang ma provide na visa lage po nila dahilan sakin na iniba na daw ang rules ng goverment sa brunei kaya medyo natatagalan daw po tlaga un proseso anu po ba dapat kong gawin dko po alam kung totoo un sinasabi nila gus2ng gusto kona po tlagang ilapit sa poea un problema ko nagtry muna ako dito pra maka hingi ng advice kung ano po ba dapat kong gawin. thank u po

    • May katagalan na nga po. May nabigay ka na bang mga dokumento or pumirma ng kontrata? Puwede mo pong pasyalan ang ating POEA at e-verify kung may job order ba ang kompanyang inyong inaplayan sa Brunei. Dalhin mo lang ang lahat ng detalye ng agency at ng employer.

  6. Saan po ba ako pwede magfile ng case para mapadeport ko yung asawa ko na may kinakasamang iba sa dubai.. nakapost lahat s fb nila mga pictures nila together. i know their address and where they work. we are legally married.

    • The Embassy, POLO and OWWA offices abroad can only summon and give advice to your husband not to abandon your family back home. Other than that, nothing they can do. Having an extramarital affair is not a valid justification to deport an OFW.

      The only best option is to file a complaint against your spouse in Philippine court and request the court for the issuance of a Hold Departure Order so that when he return to Philippines, he can not come back to Dubai and instead face music and let his side be heard by the court.

  7. good afternoon po. hingi po sana ako ng advise kung anu po pwede gawin ng kapatid ko pati mga kasamahan nya sa quatar, cleaners po sila dun. 1 year na po mahigit ang kapatid ko dun. ok pa po ang sahod nila sa unang employer nila pero nung binenta daw po sila nung month ng May nitong taon na to, hindi na po normal ang pagpasahod sa kanila, last June kulang po ang sahod nila, bukod sa kulang delayed pa po ang sahod. ngayong month ng July po, delayed na naman, puro pangako ang employer nila. wala pa po silang i.d. sa quatar na tinatawag na “pataka” at wala pa sila record sa phil. embassy sa quatar. anu po ba ang dapat nilang gawin?

    • Sa kanilang problema iisa lag po ang sagot, dumulog sila agad sa ating POLO office sa QAtar upang kausapin ang kanilang employer. Marami pong paglabag ang employer sa batas paggawa ng bansang Qatar.

  8. Hi Good Day,

    inquire lang po sana about sa OEC// dito po ako sa dubia ngayon , regarding dun po sinasabi nila meron 60 days validity ang OEC..
    dalawa po kasi sa akin about OEC pero mag iba po ang alam nila about sa 6 days validity ng OEC.

    kada uwi ba ng pinas eh dapat lagi kumuha ng OEC? ither wise ndi ka makakaalis ng pinas..?
    or 60 days na validity mo eh valid po siya kahit ilang beses ka umuwi like every month umuwi ka eh.. yung pong pangalawa uwimi eh wala na bayad ng OEC ( basta pasok pa sa OEC )

    • Those OEC with 60 days validity are only allowed to be used for single exit or can only be used once. Not unless you have Multiple Travel Exit Clearance (MTEC) issued also by POEA.

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