PH government rolls out new OFW e-Card

Community News & Features Nov 9, 2018 at 5:04 pm

ofw_e-card_dummyBy Ysh Cabana
The Philippine Reporter

“Simple delivery of government services” is what a new identification card for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) promises to provide as it was officially launched on Tuesday November 6, 2018.

Making the announcement in Pasay City, Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the OFW e-card is an upgrade from the previously issued OFW ID. Now, it serves as both proof of membership and an overseas employment certificate (OEC) for all OFWs. The OEC is a required document before a Filipino can work outside of the country.

OFW Card“This OWWA [Overseas Workers Welfare Administration] OFW e-Card is a response to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to further serve our modern economic heroes — the OFWs,” he said.

“In a way, we rebranded the ID because we lacked data then. This one is a collaboration between DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment), OWWA, POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency), and DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), including Bureau of Immigration. We were able to complete the data,” he added.

With the e-card, the OFW shared information database with other government agencies may soon be realized.

Bello also said that airport fees will be waived for OFWs with the new OFW e-Card.

Meanwhile, OWWA administrator Hans Cacdac said that the government is also working with experts to develop features that could be validated as a passport so if OFWs lose their travel document, they will have less worries as long as the e-card is with them.

“OWWA is the only agency under the Department of Labor and Employment that has a legal mandate (under Republic Act 10801) to provide an e-card for OFWs. Through this OFW e-Card, member OFWs will have easier access to our programs and services,” he said.

The OFW e-card has a digital version that can be downloaded through the agency’s mobile app. It also contains a unique membership number and QR (quick response) code as a security feature aimed to prevent data breach.

It is available for free for all OFWs including the “balik manggagawa” with active OWWA membership, valid OEC or Exemption number, and valid passport. The Balik Manggagawa (Returning Worker) program covers OFWs who frequently go back to the Philippines.

Applicants are advised to visit the OWWA website, owwa.gov.ph.

The administration gave away e-cards to 50 people who were present during the Tuesday launch, exactly three months after President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11055 or the Philippine Identification System law.