Unified ID for Filipinos will be issued in stages and returning Filipino workers will get it first
Dubai: The Philippine government has started rolling out the much-awaited Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) ID but the card will only be available to OFWs returning to the Philippines on its first phase of implementation.
The unified identification card system is a project of the Philippine Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) launched in July this year to replace the current “exit pass” or Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).
The exit pass, which most OFWs would like to be abolished, proves that an OFW has been hired legally and intends to go back to the same employer abroad.
The OFW ID entitles Filipino workers to airport and travel tax exemptions levied by the Philippine government.
To register, OFWs need to visit https://ofw.idole.ph to create an account. It will need an OEC number or OEC Exemption number, however, for the registration.
Some OFWs on Facebook community groups said they tried to apply but could not register because the system would not accept their OEC number. According to the OFW One-Stop-Shop e-Services portal, the system would only accept an OEC number/exemption number with validity from October 14,2007 onwards.
One user, Aaron, who acquired an OEC last week, said he tried several times to apply but failed.
“I got my OEC last week and tried to register but the prompt keeps saying ‘For further verification, please proceed to nearest POEA Office,” he commented.
Another user, Nits, said she tried to apply several times and followed the instructions to no avail.
An OFW who was able to successfully register said: “ID for pick-up soon! I used my OEC issued on October 23.”
This Gulf News reporter tried to apply for an ID using an OEC Exemption number acquired today (Wednesday) but the system did not recognise it.
In a statement on Thursday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the issuance of the ID card will be limited to returning OFWs or Balik Manggagawa for now.
“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 said in the statement.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte himself presented the IDs to OFWs who had just landed in Manila for their annual vacation.
The OFW ID is being issued for free as funded by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
The first phase of the system links DOLE with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Plans are in the pipeline to further interlink the databases of the iDOLE system DOLE offices and agencies with other government agencies for a “more reliable, updated and complete Labor Market Information System (LMIS) for employment facilitation purposes”.
The timeline for the full implementation of the issuance of the card is still unclear.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AN OFW CARD
Note that workers returning to the Philippines for a vacation are the priority for now.
1) Visit https://ofw.idole.ph
2) Create an account using your OEC Number or OEC Exemption number.
3) Once in, create your account by putting in all relevant details and following the online instructions on how to request for the ID.