Labor department to replace OEC with identification card

THE Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will scrap the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) as it plans to launch the identification card system for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on July 12.

"On July 12, we will launch it (OFW ID) before the President," Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a press conference Tuesday.

Bello said it would now be more convenient for Filipino migrant workers to use the new ID system, which he deemed as the "best gift" of President Rodrigo Duterte for them.

Bello said OFWs would be less burdened because they no longer need to undergo long process to get OEC from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

He said all "bona fide" Filipinos working abroad would receive the identification card free of cost from the labor department.

"If you want to be deployed or before you can be deployed for an overseas job, you have to obtain an OEC from the POEA," said Bello.

"So they don't have to go to the POEA every time they go and they come back, and they go again. They have to always get their OEC. There’s no need. All they have to do is show their ID," he added.

The labor department said that the OFW ID system is a major component of the Integrated Dole system (iDole).

The OFW card, which was approved by the President, can be used as a universal ID for all government transactions. It can also serve as a debit card and an ATM card for OFW banks, as well as a beep card for the Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit stations.

On Monday, Bello said the special OFW ID will be officially launched by mid-July.

Bello told reporters that the iDole program is one of the "major breakthroughs" of the Duterte administration.

"We will be doing away with the OEC because under this [iDole] program, all bona fide OFWs will be given iDole. At no cost to the OFW, that will serve as your OEC,” he said. “That’s iDole, the best gift of our President to our OFWs.”

Bello said his agency was also mulling to adopt a system that would the OFW ID as passport of Filipino migrant workers.

He said he would coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration to fulfill its plan to also convert it as passport.

"We will talk to the Department of Foreign Affairs and of course, the Department of Justice, through its agency which is the Bureau of Immigration so this [ID under] iDole can serve as passport. You see the advantage. If you are an OFW, you can travel anywhere. You have your passport [using the special card]," Bello said. (SunStar Philippines)

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