POEA Advisory No. 30 series of 2011
<b>'POEA further complicates OEC process for OFWs'</b>
A new process ostensibly designed to facilitate the granting of travel clearances for OFWs is bound have the opposite effect, an OFW advocacy group warned on Thursday.
The new procedure adopted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in processing the required travel clearance for all out-bound OFWs is "useless (and) just an added burden that will bring bureaucratic nightmare to OFWs,” said John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of the Saudi-based Migrante-Middle East.
On June 14, POEA chief Carlos Cao, Jr., issued POEA Advisory No.30 outlining the new procedure in getting an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) which serves as a travel clearance for OFWs. The advisory said the new process would allow the POEA to "efficiently manage OFWs' time in securing travel exit clearance by adjusting the processing time in two phases."
The new procedure will take effect on July 1, according to the POEA.
But Monterona said that “POEA chief Cao, in implementing such bureaucratic phases in getting an OEC, does not know and failed to study what will be the effect of the new procedure to vacationing OFWs especially those living from the provinces. It is just an added burden, time-wise and cost-wise.”
Monterona explained that not all OFWs are living within Metro Manila and nearby provinces. “In fact, most of our OFWs are coming from the provinces,” he said.
OFWs who spend a few days leave in the Philippines effectively lose a whole day of their precious time to the POEA because of the current OEC process. Travelling to and from the POEA, and lining up for the OEC, can have a heavy toll financially and time-wise, and while there are POEA desks in the international airport terminals, transactions there are often open to confusion which make OFWs vulnerable to harassment.
The new procedure would divide the process into two phases: the first for the submission of required documents for verification, to be done on the first day. The second phase for the second day is the paying of fee and issuance of the OEC.
"This will totally contradict the ‘one-stop-shop’ policy, letting OFWs get all his requirements in a single day, implemented by the previous POEA administrator," Migrante-Middle East said in its statement.
“I think even Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz would not allow this new procedure to be implemented. She supported the ‘one-stop-shop’ policy, but here is the new burdening procedure imposed by Mr. Cao negating the previous policy,” Monterona said.
Monterona added that in any new policies or procedures, "the foremost consideration should be to unburden our OFWs."
He said the POEA chief "did not even bother to consult the OFWs and their organizations, which will be affected badly by this new procedure."