The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Singapore has launched the Balik-Manggagawa Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) appointment system to address the long queues of OFWs returning home for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
?Last December 3, 2012, Balik-Manggagawa, or vacationing OFWs, in Singapore started to set an appointment on-line through the website of the Philippine Embassy to be able to get their OECs,? said DOLE secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.
?The POEA developed and launched the appointment system in Manila on November 5, 2012, and is being pilot-tested in Singapore for the convenience of returning workers who are trooping to the Embassy in large numbers due to the peak season. This is part of our reform to further improve services delivery to our OFWs,? she said.
In a report to Baldoz, Labor Attache to Singapore Vicente Cabe said the OEC is not a requirement to exit Singapore, but is needed upon exit from the Philippines for an OFW to be exempted from payment of travel tax and airport terminal fee.
?This means our OFWs also have the option to secure an appointment by accesing the POEA website at www.poea.gov.ph and to choose where to get the OEC in the Philippines,? Cabe said.
Baldoz said that for this purpose, the POEA has put up counters at its main office in Mandaluyong City, and at the Duty Free Philippines in Para?aque City and SM Manila to accommodate those who choose to get their OEC, or exit clearance, at a specific date and time.
The appointment service is free and is accessible at www.philippine-embassy.org.sg. Cabe explained that while the use of the system is being promoted, the Philippine Embassy in Singapore will make provisions for walk-in clients until OFWs have familiarized themselves with the on-line appointment.
Balik-manggagawa or returning workers have to pay S$3.00 for the OEC processing fee; S$42.00 for OWWA membership contribution on a per contract coverage; and S$5.50 as contribution to the Pag-ibig Fund.
Cabe further said that those who are going home due to an emergency, or have immediate flights to catch, are advised to make an on-line appointment at the POEA website and get their OECs at the processing center of their choice in the Philippines.
Furthermore, OFWs have the additional option to walk-in at the POEA Regional Offices in their respective provinces without an appointment.