The Identification Card (ID) for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) is free of charge, according to a top official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) during Monday’s launch of the new OFW hub in this city.
In a media conference on Monday, DOLE Assistant Secretary Federico Abuan Jr., who led the launching of the One-Stop-Service center for OFWs (OSSCO) in the Calabarzon Region, clarified that the OFW ID is free contrary to rumors that a fee is being charged to an OFW.
Located at the Andenson Building in Parian Village here, the new OFW regional services hub serves the Calabarzon region comprising the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
He explained that the ID is given to any OFW currently working abroad or has returned to the country for some time or inactive for as long as one is found in the registry of OFWs with no application required anymore.
“The ID is free to active or inactive OFW. Once an OFW is always an OFW,” said Abuan, quoting from the pronouncement of DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Deputy Administrator Jocelyn Rey also announced that about 1.6 million OFWS in the Calabarzon are going to receive their respective IDs by mail or through their Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) for those currently working abroad.
For those undocumented workers, DOLE Calabarzon Regional Director Ma. Zenaida Campita said they will have to provide accompanying documents such as travel papers or proof of employment on their application for the ID.
Abuan said the ID replaces the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) and frees an OFW the burden of applying for an OEC every time he/she reapplies for work abroad.
He said President Rodrigo R. Duterte has directed to free the OFWs from applying and paying fees for the OEC.
He urged anyone to contact the OSSCO for more information and to report to the DOLE regional office on any such fraudulent transaction or any person asking fees in exchange for the ID. (Zen Trinidad/PNA)