More than 250K OFWs to benefit from e-card project

MANILA — An estimated 250,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are expected to initially benefit in the Phase 1 of the OFW e-card project of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an official said Tuesday.

“This project is currently in its first phase and we are expecting to cover around 250,000 Balik-Manggagawa OFWs. We will soon be working on the next phase that will benefit more OFWs and will include more and better features of the card,” Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary and OWWA Board of Trustees chair Silvestre Bello III said during the project’s launch at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

He noted that the OFW e-card is a response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to enhance simple delivery of government services to the OFWs.

“This OFW e-card is expected to greatly improve the delivery of OWWA’s programs and services to its member-OFW in order that they may enjoy the benefits due them,” he said.

The card provides easy access to OWWA programs, including welfare services, scholarships, training programs and social benefits.

Meanwhile, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the card is available for free to all Balik-Manggagawa OFWs with an active OWWA membership, a valid Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) to Exemption Number, and a valid passport.

“Through this OFW e-card, member-OFWs will have an easier access to our programs and services, as it allows instant verification of OWWA membership and reduces documentary requirements,” he said.

It also has a digital version through the OWWA mobile app and may also serve as a valid government ID. It also contains a unique OFW membership number and QR (quick response) code as security features to prevent data breach.

OWWA members who would like to apply for an OFW e-card may visit the OWWA website, OFWs may claim their e-card upon return to the Philippines or through their family member, if they present an authorization letter and a copy of the OFW’s passport identification page.

When availing of the OWWA programs and services, OFWs may present the OFW e-card at any OWWA Regional Welfare Office in the country or at the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices and embassies/consulates in their jobsites.

The OWWA has also set up OFW e-card help desk in all its regional offices in the country and overseas posts across the globe, to cater to queries and concerns of OFWs about the card.