O.E.C. woes

Written by admin on May 22, 2008 – 7:03 pm -

For some reason I really hate the term OFW, maybe it’s because of all the hassles associated with it. When my family was living with me, we seldom went back to visit the Philippines. More often that not, we’d go someplace else to spend our vacation such as Singapore, Japan or the United States. Why? Because I always found it so troublesome for me to get the paperwork or clearance to leave Manila as an OFW.

I’m sure pretty sure not one single OFW looks forward to spending almost half a day at the POEA office in Ortigas just to get a piece of paper called an Overseas Employment Certificate (O.E.C) that will allow he or she to leave the country. Personally I don’t know why you need to get an O.E.C, isn’t a valid work visa enough? I get it, it’s a revenue source for the government. So why not have an OFW Card, that has the same validity as your current work visa? That way you only renew once a year. Oh wait! We do have that card, the one with the useless magnetic stripe and all. While in line at the POEA office last year, someone told me that for a brief moment that magnetic stripe did work and the holder did not have to fill out endless forms since once swipe of the card yielded all the personal information of the card holder. Well that was for a brief moment, now it’s back to all the paperwork that has to filled up.

I really envy the OFW’s from Singapore, they can just go to Lucky Plaza (a place where most Filipino’s hang out) and buy their OEC’s from most shops there. A few years back the Philippine Embassy in Seoul issued OEC’s but for some reason they don’t do it anymore. I just don’t get it. OEC from a store at Lucky Plaza but not from the Philippine Embassy, go figure??? After calling the Filipino Workers Resource Center at the Embassy here in Seoul I was told that I can go straight to the POEA office at the airport an apply for the OEC there. A bit scary if you ask me, especially if you’re leaving that day and they tell you that you can’t get your OEC at the airport, that leaves you where?

I know that there are improvements such as fast track delivery, presenting the OEC at airline counter instead of getting a stamp at the airport etc…, but for me spending the better part of a short vacation at the POEA just to get a piece of paper that says I’m allow to leave the country is not cool.

There is a silverlining in the clouds, the POEA in conjuction with Globe and SMART (I have no idea why Globe or SMART but I’ll leave that for a seperate post) are developing a card that will replace the current OEC system. This one is what I call B.W.I.S.I.T, Believe It When I See It.

Anybody out there who’s got a better way please chime in…

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