Labor department to launch new OFW ID to replace OECs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — A new identification card will replace the overseas employment certificate required of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Labor Secretarty Silvestre Bello III said.

Called iDOLE—or ID from the Department of Labor and Employment—the card will be launched on July 12.

Bello explained in a Palace briefing Tuesday that all "bona fide" OFWs will be given iDOLE which will serve as their certification allowing them to be validly depoyed for overseas work.

"So they don't have to go to the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) every time they go and they come back and they go back again. They always have to get their OEC. Hindi na kailangan [No need for that], all they have to do is show their ID, the iDOLE and that will serve as their license to go abroad," he said.

The POEA has the online Balik-Manggagawa system to fast-track employment certificates for an estimated 2.2 million OFWs, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Bello said OFWs need not apply for the new OFW ID.

"'If you are an OFW, bibigyan ka na [you will be given one]. Kasi nandoon ka na sa [Because you are there in the] roster ng mga OFWs, so we will start processing 'yung ID and then we will give it to you," Bello said.

He added the new ID may be used for transactions with the Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Bello also said they are working out a process for OFWs to use the new ID as a passport, as well as waiving travel tax and terminal fees when leaving the country.

"You see the advantage. OFW ka, pwede ka nang maka-biyahe [you can travel] anywhere you have your passport. And hindi mo na kailangan ng OEC [You don't need an OEC]," he said.

He explained DOLE will coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice through the Bureau of Immigration for the process.