Philippine Overseas Labour Office betters digital services

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The electronic transaction for job contract verification makes POLO-Dubai clients stay at the premises only for 20 minutes. John Varughese / Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

A pilot project on the electronic submission of required documents for the necessary job contract verification (JCV) of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Dubai and the Northern Emirates is quick and easy.

“I am happy. I arrived here at 12 noon because that was the appointment schedule (for the release of my reviewed/stamped job contract) I received via email a week after I submitted the scanned copies of all the requirements for the JCV. It is only 12:20 p.m. I only waited for 20 minutes,” Mel Anton told Gulf Today on July 6, the scheduled release of the JCVs for the 300 who had enrolled for the second implementation of the pilot project.

Anton has been an OFW for 11 years in the UAE. He had switched jobs. Thus, his need for another JCV so that his status at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is updated. The POEA is the Metro Manila-based government agency that oversees and regulates the proper documentation of all OFWs worldwide. In case employment problems arise, a correct paper trail is available.

“The procedure is so easy. I made sure that I submitted online all the required documents. I only paid the required Dhs40 fee today,” he continued, expressing hope that the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Al Qusais, Dubai (POLO-Dubai) of 15 personnel, including Labour Attache in Dubai and the Northern Emirates John Rio Bautista, add more e-services “particularly concerning the overseas employment certificate (OEC).”

April Joy Rapanot, while awaiting her queue for the “physical submission” of all the required documents for her JCV, was also looking at the continuous expansion of e-services “so there would no longer be any hassle of waking up so early.” She was unable to secure an online appointment schedule because the open dates were in September yet and “my flight is tomorrow (July 7); I walked in. I could not apply before because I only got my confirmed booking recently.”

The pilot project, initiated by POLO-Dubai, which has a daily footfall of at least 500 scheduled and walk-in clients – even though the “No Appointment, No Entry” policy since March 2020 is enforced – in observance of the Novel Coronavirus protocols, has so far serviced 600 applicants since June.

“The systems upgrading is done by POLO-Dubai staff. We need to innovate. It is independent of the ongoing (upscaling of online services) at the POEA and at the (newly-created Department of Migrant Workers-DMW-set to be fully operational this January 2023). (Ad interim) Secretary Susan Ople is keen in speeding up all services for all OFWs. This project has to have the approval (of the authorities in Metro Manila). We may eventually interconnect this with the system (back home),” Bautista said.

He added: “We would soon launch the online system for the Job Order Verification for our clients who want to hire Filipino workers.”

As of 5:32 p.m. on July 13 (Wednesday), up at the POLO-Dubai website is the availability of 500 slots for the online submission of requirements for the JCV.

On the demand of OFWs in Dubai and the Northern Emirates for the Philippine government to cancel the JCV and the OEC as they see these documents as useless and only a money venture ploy, Bautista said these are policies decided on by overseas employment authorities as the guarantee for the job protection and welfare of all OFWs. The JCV at all the 34 POLOs worldwide takes place when Filipinos who enter host countries on tourist or visit visas, have secured jobs. They do not have documentations with the POEA and so the required JCV for their protection and welfare. The OEC tracks and monitors the whereabouts of OFWs. Historical data have shown of OFWs having been reported as missing by their loved ones even if they had departed back to their job sites. The OEC as exit permit is presented before Manila’s Bureau of Immigration personnel. It exempts bearers from the mandatory travel tax and exit port terminal fees: “The government continues to look for ways on how to facilitate and efficiently automate the processes involved for the benefit of all OFWs.”

Interviewed over the July 13 ABC 5 “Ted Failon-DJ Chacha Teleradyo,” Ople repeated what she had stated several weeks back regarding ongoing talks and collaboration with ad interim Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan Uy on the “e-submission” of all the necessary documents from all OFWs worldwide such as the job contracts and the OEC which are the safeguards administered for the benefit and welfare of all OFWs.

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