OEC digital version of OFW Pass free for all overseas workers

By Marita Moaje

July 13, 2023, 11:57 am

<p><em>(File photo) </em></p>

(File photo) 

MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has assured that the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Pass, the digital version of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), may be accessed for free by all Filipinos working abroad.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, DMW Secretary Susan Ople said aside from the OFW Pass, the agency is also gearing up for the launch of the DMW Mobile App that would also be free to all OFW users.

She said this is in compliance with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and is also based on the clamor of OFWs for a more convenient alternative to the OEC that comes in paper form with a PHP100 fee.

“President Marcos made it clear that the OFW Pass should be free in honor of the huge sacrifices being made and contributions of our modern-day heroes to the needs of their respective families and the Philippine economy as a whole,” she said.

Ople said the DMW mobile app is undergoing rigorous testing by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) before its formal launch.

“We acknowledge the help and support being provided by the DICT to make sure that our mobile app will be secure,” she said.

The OFW Pass, which will kick off the agency’s modernization and digitalization program, is set to be launched right after the DICT gives its green light to the DMW.

The DMW mobile app will be available on Google Play and Apple Store.

A memorandum of agreement was also signed by the DMW and the Bureau of Immigration to make sure both agencies are in sync in terms of database management and other relevant processes.

“Our goal is to make the journey of our OFWs much easier. The OFW Pass, in comparison with the decades-old OEC, is convenient, practical, and free of use. In the next phase, we hope to be able to add more features to our mobile app and integrate this with the e-Gov app of the DICT, but for now, we prefer to focus on educating our OFWs on the features of the OFW Pass,” Ople said.

She said Migrant Workers' Offices worldwide, as well as the DMW main office, issue an average of 6,719 OECs to OFWs daily.

Ople said Hongkong, which is considered a high-concentration post, has an average of 600 to 800 line-up for OECs that reaches more than 1,000 during peak seasons starting from the “ber” months leading to Christmas.

She also cited data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that indicated a 3.2 percent increase in dollar remittance flows from January to April 2023, which is equivalent to USD10,487,040, compared to USD10,166,678 for the same period last year.

“Foregoing the PHP100 per OEC charge was an easy decision to make given the enormous and consistent contributions of our OFWs to the country’s economic growth and the sustenance of their families,” Ople said.

All departing OFWs, whether new hires or Balik Manggagawa, are required to secure an OEC, which serves as exit clearance and as exemption from the payment of travel tax and airport terminal fee. (PNA)