The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is calling on Filipino workers in the CNMI, particularly those who have already been petitioned for a Commonwealth-only status by their employers, to renew or sign up for OWWA membership.
Welfare officer Julie Fabian on Friday stressed the importance of an OWWA membership, saying it is a form of insurance for Filipinos working overseas.
A minimal $25 membership contribution per year entitles an OWWA member to numerous benefits that include insurance and health care benefits, loan guarantee fund, education and training benefits, scholarship programs, family welfare assistance, and repatriation program.
“In the past, membership coverage encompasses the duration of a Filipino worker's contract. Since that no longer applies for OWWA members in the Commonwealth, the minimum coverage is for one year plus 60 days extension,” Fabian told Saipan Tribune.
To become a member, Fabian said they require a Filipino worker to present a copy of their CW status or just the USCIS receipt acknowledging their application, the worker's passport, and the $25 fee.
Fabian, who has been in charge of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and OWWA following labor representative Carmelina Velasquez's end of tour of duty on Wednesday, emphasized that the OWWA member remains covered for one year from the date of signing up.
The coverage, Fabian said, applies even if the OWWA member is on vacation in the Philippines and elsewhere or loses his or her job as long as it's within that one-year period.
Fabian disclosed that as of Jan. 27, they received a total of 109 OWWA membership applications in the CNMI this month.
“We're expecting that more Filipino workers will renew their membership in the coming weeks since most of them have already been applied for or already received a CW status,” said Fabian.
Fabian urged Filipino workers in the CNMI to become an OWWA member for their own protection.
“It's an insurance for them, especially with the lingering uncertainties that they have even though they're employed,” she added.
To become a member, visit the POLO - OWWA office at the ground floor of the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe and bring the required documents. For more information, call 235-6992 or 235-3411.