The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration now has additional processing sites for the Overseas Employment Certificate besides its main office in Mandaluyong City, making it more convenient for Filipinos in the Northern Marianas who will soon lose the ease of obtaining their OEC’s on Saipan due to the impending closure of the Philippine Consulate General.
In a recently released advisory, POEA stated that workers considered as balik-manggagawa can process their OEC from 10am to 6pm daily at the Global Pinoy Center on the 5th floor of SM Manila “under a pilot test run.”
Considered as balik-manggagawa are workers who are on vacation or on leave from employment under a valid and existing employment contract and returning to the same employer, regardless of changes in job site, to finish the remaining unexpired portion of the contract; who are rehired by the same employer after finishing a contract; and returning workers whose employment contract was not processed with the POEA but subsequently verified and registered with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, and returning to the same employer as worker-on-leave or rehire.
Additional processing sites include the Duty Free Philippines in Paranaque City; POEA Regional Centers and Extension Units; and POLOs.
An OEC is a document required under POEA rules and regulations to ensure Filipino workers are properly documented, are eligible to receive government protection and benefits, and are exempted from travel tax and airport terminal fee.
It is presented at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport before the worker is allowed to go back to his or her employment destination.
To obtain an OEC, Filipino workers are required to present a passport valid for six months from the time of departure; a valid working visa or work permit; and proof of employment such as Certificate of Employment, company ID, and payslip.
Majority of Filipino workers in the CNMI who want to go on vacation in the Philippines opt to process their OEC’s on Saipan due to shorter lines and faster processing. With the consulate’s impending shutdown after Oct. 31, however, these workers will have to secure an OEC in Manila.
Julia F. Fabian, POLO officer-in-charge, welcomed the additional processing sites, which she said would facilitate the OEC processing for Filipino workers from the Commonwealth.
Fabian attributed the inconvenience in the OEC application process in Manila to the labor market restrictions imposed by POEA on the Northern Marianas in 2005, but stressed that measures already have been taken by former labor representatives to have the restrictions lifted.
She disclosed, however, that a Filipino worker from the CNMI who is now on vacation had sought assistance from the POLO office on Saipan because the worker was not issued an OEC right away.
According to Fabian, the worker called them this week after failing to secure an OEC from POEA Tacloban office. Fabian was told that the worker had to wait for the signature of the POEA administrator before obtaining the needed document.
Fabian assured that they will coordinate with the POEA main office to ensure that the advisory is already in effect in all of the additional processing sites to prevent the situation encountered by the Tacloban native.