Press Release
April 11, 2013


Surprise Visit to OWWA

Senator Alan Cayetano today made a surprise visit to the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA to personally experience the process that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) go through for assistance in legal, medical and other concerns.

OWWA, an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), is the lead government agency tasked to protect and promote the welfare and well being of OFWs and their dependents.

Here, he was able to talk to OFWs who were processing requirements needed to avail certain benefits and to the agency's officers about welfare of the OFWs he was able to talk to during his visit to Hong Kong and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA).

Last Friday, Cayetano also dropped by the POEA to personally experience the process that OFWs go through to get a work permit.

Cayetano noted the improvements by the agencies in processing assistance requests from OFWs. "I see that there have been vast improvements in their processes. What used to take several hours before now only takes around 30 minutes to 2 hours," he observed.

Nevertheless, Cayetano reiterated his call for better government support for OFWs by means of more efficient processes and less costs.

Department of OFWs

As a means to streamline processes for OFWs, Cayetano proposed studying the possibility of a Department of OFWs. "A lot of the processes and some of the fees that OFWs pay are really redundant," Cayetano observed, recalling the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) that returning OFWs need to acquire and present at Immigration just to get their travel tax and airport fees waived.

"The passport and employer's certificate should be enough to prove that. It's such a tedious process to go through just to get your travel tax waived," Cayetano said.

Cayetano also argued that with an OFW population of approximately P10 million Filipinos or over a tenth of our population, this sector deserves its own department. "Instead of having OFWs go through several different government agencies just to fulfill their overseas needs, the government can aid OFWs by coming up with a single unified department focused solely on their needs," he said.

"This department will focus on welfare, training, provision of active employment opportunity search for OFWs. The idea is to have a full time agency for OFWs and foreign employment," Cayetano said.

Listening Tour

Cayetano has been on marathon Listening Tours for OFWs since Friday. Last Friday, he paid a surprise visit to POEA to accompany two "balik-manggagawa" OFWs go through the process of acquiring their OECs. Over the weekend, he shared lunch with over 200 Filipino domestic helpers in Statue Square, Hong Kong and attended the Miting de Avance held by the OFW partylist Migrante.

Cayetano holds the concerns of the OFW sector close to his heart because believes that OFWs are one of the sectors most affected by inflation, unemployment and low wages - issues he wishes to address as a re-electionist.

Google Hangout with OFWs

As part of his effort to connect with more OFWs, Cayetano will be holding the first ever Google Hangout with a senatorial candidate tomorrow, April 12 at 2PM at the Mind Museum in Taguig City hosted by tech-savvy celebrity Bianca Gonzalez.

Here, Cayetano will discuss issues pertaining to inflation, employment, and wages that affect the lives of Filipino workers as they work abroad. He will also accept questions via Twitter and Facebook. The event will be live streamed at

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