THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has started the first phase of issuance of an integrated identification card for overseas Filipino workers or the iDOLE OFW ID for easy transactions with government and private agencies concerning their overseas employment.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Thursday said more than 100,000 OFW ID cards are ready for distribution for returning OFWs or Balik Manggagawa (BM) only for its initial implementation while further test is being done to secure features of the system.
“This is only the first phase of implementation and will cater first to our Balik-Manggagawa until the system is ready for all OFWs. We are doing this to secure the database and for further improvements in the system,” Bello added.
Director Raul Francia, chief, DOLE Information and Publication Service, pointed out that even at its initial phase of implementation, recipients of the OFW ID cards can already use them to transact business with the Labor department and its attached agencies Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration.
“Soon it can also be used to access government records electronically, among other uses,” Francia said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, he added, recently distributed some of the cards to returning OFWS who landed at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
Vacationing OFWs are required to log in their BM Online accounts to apply for the ID cards, which they can use to avail of travel tax and terminal fee exemptions.
They can now log in and create an account with the iDOLE.ph or the iDOLE One-Stop Online Facility/Portal and apply for the OFW ID cards by putting their latest and valid OEC Number.
The ID card is equipped with decrypted QR code for security.
Bello reiterated that the iDOLE OFW ID card is free, with its production funded by the OWWA.
“This is free for our OFWs. We do not want our OFWs to shoulder the cost because this is a gift from the President to recognize their sacrifices and immense contribution to our economy,” he said.
With the use of the ID card, OFWs will no longer need to queue in transacting with agencies for their overseas employment as they can now access government services online during the further phases of the iDOLE eServices implementation.
The iDOLE system will further interlink the databases of DoLE offices and agencies with other government agencies for a more reliable, updated and complete Labor Market Information System for employment facilitation purposes.
Initial use of the OFW ID card coincides with today’s 84th founding celebration of the DoLE that will be held in Malolos City, Bulacan, with President Duterte as guest of honor.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL