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Philippine government formally launches OFW e-Card

 After a 10-month long test phase, the Philippine government has formally launched the Overseas Filipino Workers e-Card, a feature packed access pass that to a host of benefits for OFWs.

“This OWWA [Overseas Workers Welfare Administration] OFW e-Card is a response to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to further serve our modern economic heroes — the OFWs,” Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III said during the launching of the card in Pasay City on Tuesday.


It can be recalled that last December 2017, Bello announced the implementation of the first phase of the OFW e-Card.

The OFW e-Card serves as the key to access the Integrated Department of Labour and Employment (iDOLE) eServices. At that time, only returning OFWs are eligible for the electronic-chip embedded plastic membership cards.

This time around however, even first time OFWs are provided with the benefits of the OFW e-card.

Attorney Dodo Dulay, deputy administrator of OWWA said that with the OFW e-card, OWWA “aims to integrate digital technology into all areas of its core functions and business processes.”

Using a single plastic card, OFWs can avail services such as travel tax and terminal fee exemptions (exit pass or Overseas Employment Certificates) and access information with regards to government services such as information on their contributions with the Social Security System (SSS), Philhealth, among others. It also serves as a valid government identification card.

Likewise, the OFW e-Card provides easy, electronic access to OWWA programmes, including welfare services, scholarships, training and other social benefits.

Dulay also said that another feature of the OFW e-card is the OWWA mobile app.

“The OWWA mobile app is another key element in the agency’s digital transformation. With the mobile app, members can browse the latest local news, renew their membership contributions online, keep tabs on their membership records and status, send an email or message directly to the agency’s 24/7 operations centre, (OFWs can also) apply for the various OWWA programmes and services, and connect to the hotline numbers of the various Philippine Overseas Labour Offices (Polo) around the world,” he said.

He added that even if an OFW loses his or her smartphone, all the member has to do is download the mobile app to the new smartphone and log in.

He said the new OFW e-Card provides a host of security features, such as a machine or mobile phone readable “quick response” or QR code that would serve as the “permanent” ID of OFWs. Having this particular code means authorities can immediately verify if a card holder is legitimate or not.

OWWA administrator Hans Cacdac for his part, said that experts are currently working on features what could turn the OFWs e-Card into a valid passport so that even if OFWs lose their travel document, they will have no worries as long they have their card with them.

The government has been making its services more accessible to OFWs through electronic means. Its armies of migrant workers around the world, had for a number of times, buoyed the country’s economy during difficult periods.

Source: gulfnews

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