PBBM to DMW: Make digital services a top priority for OFWs

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State of the Nation of PBBM, July 25. (screen grab/ctto)

The President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on the first State of the Nation (SONA) on Monday (July 25), ordered the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to pursue automated services to ensure the immediate delivery of assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Marcos instructed the DMW to coordinate with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the digital processing of OFWs’ documents.

In a speech delivered at Batasan Complex in Quezon City, Pres Marcos Jr. said, “We shall automate the verification of contracts and issue secure Overseas Employment Certifications (OEC) that you can keep on your smartphone. I call on the Department of Migrant Workers and the DICT to make this a top priority,”

The OEC, also known as exit clearance or pass, is a document certifying the regularity of recruitment and documentation of an OFW and proof of his or her registration with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople earlier vowed to simplify the existing processes to ensure “enhanced, efficient, and transparent” services for OFWs.

She also guaranteed that she is prioritizing the review of the POEA’s rules and regulations, including its system for contract verification and issuance of OECS for the streamlining of its key frontline services.

For faster and simpler transactions Pres Marcos also sought the faster deployment of OFWs by shortening the processing period to three weeks from the current three months.

“Mula sa tatlong buwan ay gagawin na lamang nating tatlong linggo para sa isang dayuhang employer na i-proseso ang mga papeles ng Filipinong nais nitong kunin bilang empleyado (Instead of three months, we will make it just three weeks for a foreign employer to process the papers of Filipinos they want to hire),” he said.

To make government transactions with OFWs simpler, Marcos likewise directed the issuance of pamphlets, replacing the OFW handbook which serves as a reference for the migrant workers rights and contains information to help them address their problems and concerns.

“Aatasan din natin ang kagawaran na gawing simple ang kumplikadong handbook ng mga tuntunin at regulasyong para sa mga OFW, nang sa gayon ay maging maalwan ang mga transaksiyong may kinalaman sa kanilang pangingibang-bansa (We will also direct the department to make the complicated handbook for OFWs simple to help them understand the transactions for their foreign employment),” he said.

“Mula sa handbook na may 240 seksyon ay gagawin nating pamphlet na lamang ito na hindi hihigit sa isandaang pahina. Mahirap na nga ang buhay, kaya naman ayaw na nating makitang lalo pang nahihirapan ang ating mga manggagawang mandarayuhan sa pagtupad sa kanilang mga pangarap (From 240 sections contained in the handbook, we will just make it less than 100 pages through the issuance of a pamphlet. Life is already difficult, and we do not want our migrant workers to find it difficult to fulfill their deams),” Marcos added.