DUBAI – Filipinos who are working abroad may soon get a free unified ID that can help them pass through immigration seamlessly.
Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced on Monday, July 3, that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) heading back to their workplaces abroad will be issued a special identification card.
The ID will be free of cost and is said to be rolled out by the end of this month. Named as the OFW ID, the special card will be a universal card for OFWs for all their government transactions.
With the OFW ID, Filipinos will no longer need to apply for an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) which was mandatory for every OFW to prove that they have been hired legally and planned to return to the same employer overseas, Bello said during an interview with Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.
Dole Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III who was in town on Monday shared that the OFW ID will be catering to all OFW needs.
“The ID serves as evidence that the worker has been processed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration [POEA],” he said.
He stated that the ID could only be issued unless one was processed by the POEA. Tests are undergoing at the moment, according to the official, and the application process will be announced soon.
Aside from being just an ID, Lagunzad said that it could also be used to go through Philippine immigration. They have done one test with an OFW who was issued with the ID and the person was able to go through the immigration smoothly.
“So essentially, this card will enable Filipinos to pass through immigration gates quickly. This will also eliminate long queues for OEC application and travel tax refunds and so on,” he added.
He mentioned that the project is still in its first stages of implementation process. Eventually, other services will be added to it.
The OFW ID will also be linked and used for Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
This will eliminate multiple ID cards issued by various government agencies which can be troublesome for many Filipinos while transacting through the many government offices.
Lagunzad added that the OFW ID can also be used as an ATM or debit card and to be used for remittances through the proposed OFW Bank which he said will soon be inaugurated by the end of this year.
The DOLE Undersecretary was accompanied by OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac to meet their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for bilateral talks.
Lagunzad stated that before heading to the UAE, he was in Geneva, Switzerland to attend a labor conference and in Berlin, Germany for a global migration conference.