THE government is set to launch an identification card specifically tailored to make it easier for overseas Filipino. workers (OFWs) to avail of government services while in the Philippines, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd announced on Tuesday.
In a media conference in Malacañang, Bello said OFWs will no longer need to secure an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) before their work deployment.
Instead, he said, OFWs will be given a “free” identification card, known as the ID of the Department of Labor and Employment or iDOLE.
“With the introduction, my dear friends, of the iDOLE, we will be doing away with the OEC,” Bello told reporters, referring to a requirement for OFWs departing from the Philippines to their employment destination.
“Because under this program, all bona fide OFWs will be given iDOLE. That is the ID of the Department of Labor and Employment, at no cost to the OFW and this will serve as your OEC,” he added.
Bello said the OFW IDs can be claimed from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
“So they don’t have to go to the POEA every time they come home to get their OEC. All they have to do is show their ID, the iDOLE, and that will serve as their license to go abroad, come back here, and then go back anytime,” he said.
Bello said the DOLE is also eyeing to adopt a system that the iDOLE can serve as the OFW’s passport.
“Maybe given another six months, we . . . will talk to Department of Foreign Affairs and, of course, the Department of Justice, through its agency which is the Bureau of Immigration,” he said.
“That to me is a major gift of the President to our OFWs who we always call as the bagong bayani (new heroes) . . . The President has seen to it that their life is more comfortable, more secured, and their stay abroad are properly attended to,” Bello added.