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 press conference in Malacañang, Bello said OFWs would no longer need to secure an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) before their work deployment.
Instead, he said, OFWs would 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 could be claimed from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
“So they don’t have to go to the POEA every time they go and they come back and they go back again. They always have to get their OEC. Hindi na kailangan, 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 they want to go back,” he said.
“That iDOLE [is]the best gift of our President to our OFWs,” the Labor chief added.
Bello said the DOLE was also eyeing to adopt a system that the iDOLE could 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’…The President has seen to it that their life is more comfortable, more secured, and their stay abroad are properly attended to,” Bello added.