DAVAO CITY — Various groups of overseas Filipino workers differ over the one-stop service center for OFWs with some saying that this is a positive move, while some see it as a move that will intensify the government’s labor export policy of sending migrant workers outside the country.
The Department of Labor and Employment, through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, has formally opened the One-Stop Service Center for OFWs or the OSSCO to streamline government services that cater to the needs of OFWs on Monday, August 15.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said “this is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to make it easier for OFWs to avail the services of the government.”
During his first State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte said he ordered Bello to create the one-stop shop for Filipino migrant workers’ concern.
He said the one-stop shop will have booths of various government agencies to make the processing of clearances and permits for OFWs faster.
But the United Overseas Filipino Worldwide said the opening of the OSSCO means that the Duterte administration “is not yet abandoning the government’s labor export program.”
While it is true that OSSCO project will give ease to would-be and active OFWs in order to avail the various government services in just one place, thereby reducing transportation expenses and the time spent for waiting documentation formalities, we could not set aside the reality that the Duterte administration has not yet abandoned the government’s labor export program,” said John Monterona, U-OFW convenor.
He added that the OSSCO’s main purpose is “to speed up the deployment of OFWs, new-hire and returning OFWs or Balik-Manggagawa (BM).”
“The government could even surpass the 1.2 million OFWs deployments yearly or the 5,200 OFWs deployed daily,” said Monterona.
“I would expect the Philippine government through the DOLE-POEA to deny that the implementation of the OSSCO has nothing to do with the intensification of exporting Filipino labor, but we won’t buy it,” Monterona said.
Relief for OFWs
Connie Regalado, chairperson of the Migrante Partylist said they see the OSSCO as a “relief” for OFWs.
“Isang main purpose kasi niyan, ang focus is para mapabilis ang processing sa relief assistance, particularly sa assistance ng government agencies POEA, TESDA (A main purpose of that is to speed up the processing of relief assistance, particularly the assistance of government agencies POEA and Technical Education and Skills Development Assistance),” she told Davao Today in a phone interview Monday, August 15.
But Regalado said the issue if it will perpetuate the government’s Labor Export Policy, “is another story.”
“We are supportive of this law because of its objectives, but we are yet to see its implementation,” said Regalado.
She said the center is a big help for the migrant workers who are “stranded”, especially those from Saudi Arabia. “At this time that we are in humanitarian crisis, let’s grab this,” she said.
She said that they will actively monitor the implementation of the one stop shop “if this really addresses the concerns of the OFWs.”
The Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. said they also welcome the one-stop shop for the OFWs.
“This is part of our immediate call for the government to enhance and strengthen its critical programs, especially the processing of the OFWs travel documents in order to stamp out delays, graft and corruption,” Inorisa Elento,executive director of the MMCEAI, told Davao Today.
Elento said that the initiative should be “safeguarded against corruption.”
Among the various government offices and services at the one-stop center are:
1. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) • Passport Services • Passport Validity Extension for Balik-Manggagawa (vacationing Workers)
2. Overseas Welfare Workers Administration (OWWA) • Processing of OWWA Membership/Renewal of Membership
3. Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA) • Assistance for Competency Assessment • Verification of Certificates and Special Order • Assistance for Replacement of National Certificates (NC)/Certificates of Competency (COC) • Training Assistance and Scholarship Program
4. Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) • Issuance of Professional License
5. Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) • Issuance/ Revalidation of Seaman’s Book
6. Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) • Processing of Pag-ibig Membership
7. Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) • Payment of Philhealth Contribution • Member registration and updating
8. Social Security System (SSS) • Registration and Membership Data Amendment • Acceptance of Loan and Benefits Claim Applications • Loan Verification and Status • UMID Capturing and Card Releasing
9. Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) • Processing and Copy Issuance of Certificate of Live Birth Certificate of Marriage Certificate of Death Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
10. Bureau of Immigration (BI) • Departure Clearance Information
11. National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) • Issuance of NBI Clearance
12. Commission on Higher Education (CHED) • Verification and Authentication of School Credentials
13. Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) • Travel Tax Payment • Processing of Travel Tax Exemption and Reduced Travel Tax
14. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) • Documentation of Workers (Landbased and Seabased) • Documentation of Workers-On-Leave/Balik-
Bello said the Department of Labor and Employment is also setting up one-stop centers “in all regions in coordination with the regional offices of the agencies cited above, local government units, and other partners and stakeholders.”
The OSSCO in Ortigas and the regional offices will be open from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday to Friday.
The OSSCO is located at the ground floor of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s main office at Blas F. Ople Building in Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City. (davaotoday.com)