THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) will soon issue for free identification (ID) cards that it had promised to all qualified overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) on Thursday made the clarification in reaction to complaints from some OFWs who wanted to avail of the ID card that they were being charged P700 for processing and delivery.
Bello said unscrupulous individuals out to make quick money could be behind the apparent sabotaging of the ID card program.
“Don’t believe those people who claim to have already availed of the OFW ID card, that they were able to apply through the DoLE website and there is a payment of P500 and delivery cost of P200. It’s not true. They just want to earn a fast buck by taking advantage of the new program launched by President [Rodrigo] Duterte,” he added.
The ID card program, a major component of the Integrated Department of Labor and Employment (iDOLE) system, was formally launched by the President on July 12.
But Bello said the program is yet to undergo a three-month pilot run before Filipino migrant workers can use the ID card as an automated overseas employment certificate (OEC), among other uses.
The website iDOLE.ph where the OFWs can log in their applications, according to the Labor secretary, is still for activation and not yet ready for public use.
He said the website shown during the launching last July 12 was only part of the test run conducted by information technology personnel and programmer, not the final website and registration page for the OFW ID card.
“The activation of the website and the availability of the card, including the corresponding guidelines will be announced once the test run is completed,” Bello said.
The cost of the ID card, he added, would be decided after a thorough consultation with the recruitment agencies, the Labor department and the Overseas Workers Welfare Adminisration (OWWA) “but definitely no OFW will pay for that.”
“We will be coming up with implementing guidelines only after the consultation. Next week, we will call them [recruitment agencies]and we will be presenting the guidelines, then we will request them to give inputs,” Bello said.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL