POEA speeds up processing through Balik-Manggagawa on-line; over 500-K OFWs to benefit

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed optimism that the usual long queue of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) counters waiting for the processing of their overseas employment certificates will soon be a thing of the past.

Baldoz, citing a report from POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, said the Balik Manggagawa (BM) on-line is expected to make transactions more convenient for vacationing OFWs who are returning to the same employers.

With an operational BM online, OFWs returning to the same employer can log on to the POEA website where they can fill out forms and submit the document for processing.  If the name of the employer indicated in the form matches the name of the employer in the POEA database, the system will readily approve the returning OFW’s “new record”.

“The balik manggagawa needs only to proceed to pay the fees electronically and print out the OEC either at the comfort of their homes or wherever they are conducting the on-line transaction,” Baldoz explained.

The OEC print-out containing a special bar code will be presented to the immigration officer at the airport upon departure.  As soon as the immigration officer opens the POEA database and finds the balik-manggagawa’s “new record”, the OFW will be cleared for exit.

According to Cacdac, around 70 percent, or approximately 500,000 returning OFWs are expected to benefit from the BM on-line initiative.

Baldoz said the appointment system (personal processing at the POEA Central Office) will only apply to the following:

• Returning OFWs who are changing employers (match could not be found in the POEA database)
• OFWs who have not passed through POEA (e.g. visit visa holders or ASEAN tourists)
• Household service workers

“However,” she added, “OFWs still have the option of not going through the appointment system at the POEA Central Office and instead secure their OECs from our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) or POEA regional and satellite offices.”

“The BM on-line system not only speeds up the process of securing OECs, but more significantly, it provides convenience to our vacationing OFWs.  Very soon, our workers will be able to accomplish this transaction from any location where there is online connection,” the labor and employment chief said.

“This will also provide timely updating of the OFW and employer database of POEA,” she added.


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