IT MAY not be the big ticket item they have been clamoring government for, but little things do matter especially for the more than 12 million overseas Filipino workers.

An identification card would seem to most to be a paltry way to reward OFWs for the hard work and dedication they have invested for their families’ future. But this is not an ordinary ID card meant only as additional credentials to prove one’s identity overseas or in the Philippines.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, this simple ID card will make life easier for returning OFWs to the Philippines or those about to leave the country for lands elsewhere. The card will become a universal card for all OFWs for all their government transactions – easing their dealings with government functionaries even just a little.

Chief among the services which the ID card will facilitate will be the issuance of an OFW’s Overseas Employment Certificate. And the Labor Chief announced that this new ID card will be available by the end of the month.

It could short of harassment whenever an OFW leaves for work in foreign lands. It is not unheard of that an OFW would at times be given the run around by airport officials because of undue attention from immigration officials. The card will essentially make this hassle disappear for OFWs, the DOLE chief promised.

Aside from these, other queued services that OFWs have to muster through are the travel tax refunds they are entitled to. The card promises to make even this arduous task a breeze, the DOLE vowed again. As an additional come on, the OFW card will be linked to other government systems including the SSS, PhilHealth, Pagibig, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and others.

Yes, this ID card is not what OFWs have been clamoring for, but it does take away a lot of the stress and the strain of having to queue up in long lines just to be able to leave the country. And making it easier for OFWs to leave for their work abroad would drastically make their lives a little more bearable.

And lessening the ordeal of OFWs along these lines would greatly impact on the morale of each and every individual OFW. For so long, OFWs have felt that they are milking cows not only of their families but the government as well. This initiative at the very least can make OFWs feel that they are just as important as other sectors of society which also contribute to the greater wellbeing of the country they serve.

At first glance, this initiative is nothing more than window dressing by government to appease a strategic sector of Philippine society. But in truth it is strategic move to make OFWs’ lives a little easier and more tolerable.

And this by itself is more than enough reason to praise those who thought up this idea and make it into a reality as well.

May this move be the first of many more so as to truly recognize the effort and devotion of our modern-day heroes. 


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