Press Release
April 5, 2013

Cayetano Does a Surprise Visit to POEA
Questions Repeated Payment on Returning OFWs

Senator Alan Cayetano today made a surprise visit to the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) compound on Friday morning to personally see the travails of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as they go through the process of applying for government clearance to be able to work abroad.

To the surprise of OFWs lining up in front of the POEA building in Ortigas, Cayetano arrived at 10:45 am and accompanied two 'balik-manggagawa' (returning) workers waiting for their turn at the line - Aling Eleanor and Aling Myla, who will work as domestic helpers in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, respectively - as they went step-by-step through the agency's process of securing an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), a basic requirement for overseas employment.

Aling Eleanor and Aling Myla, however, were not able to complete the entire process because they lacked a basic requirement for securing an OEC - their working visa - simply because their employment agencies failed to give them a checklist beforehand.

"As we could see in the case of Aling Eleanor and Aling Myla, (they had to be turned at the POEA back) they had to be asked to come back to the POEA simply because they were not properly briefed by their employment agencies to bring all the necessary documents to get an OEC," said Cayetano.

"We call our OFWs modern-day heroes, but it's unfortunate we couldn't guide them in the simplest of ways, like giving them a basic checklist of requirements, so they would not have to waste time and money going back and forth to the POEA just to secure an OEC."

Cayetano also accompanied Mang Rex, who works as a welder in Angola. Unlike Aling Eleanor and Aling Myla, Mang Rex's application went through the process in less than an hour because he had a complete set of required documents with him.

The senator then proceeded to the office of POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, where he was briefed on improvements being employed by the agency in processing of the documents of OFWs.

Cayetano also took note of the high fees for securing an OEC. Checking with POEA records, he said that a first-time OFW would have to pay around P6,120, while a returning OFW, P2,417.

Cayetano wants to either reduce the OEC fees or totally scrap them to further lessen the burden on our OFWs.

"To be fair to the POEA, there really have been major improvements in their systems and processes to make life more convenient for our OFWs. It's good that I was able to talk to both POEA officials and our OFWs themselves so we could have an idea on how to even improve the current system for the benefit of our modern day heroes."

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