The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Saipan office has requested that RNV Foreign Exchange be authorized to act as a remittance processing center for OWWA membership renewals and sponsors of the Tuloy-Aral Program.
Welfare officer Julia F. Fabian said yesterday that the Saipan office made the recommendation to the OWWA main office in Manila since July in preparation for the closure of the Philippine Consulate General on Saipan after Oct. 31.
Both OWWA and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office are attached agencies of the consulate.
Fabian, also the officer-in-charge for POLO, said during the interview that she made the recommendation to allow OWWA members to renew their membership even after the consulate’s closure.
RNV Foreign Exchange is primarily engaged in money remittance business and is a registered agent for the Philippine National Bank, according to its website.
“We want to promote continuity in membership for our OWWA members from the CNMI. There are those who have been members for years and we want to encourage that by having a place where these members, particularly those who do not or rarely go on vacation to the Philippines, can still make their payments,” she said.
Filipino workers who have been petitioned for a Commonwealth-only status by their employers can become an OWWA member. A minimal $25 membership contribution per year entitles the member to benefits that include insurance and health care, education and training, scholarship programs, family welfare assistance, repatriation, and reintegration program.
Fabian noted that membership becomes effective upon receipt of payment, and its coverage applies even while the member is on vacation or loses his or her job within a one-year period from the date of payment.
With the impending closure of the consulate, Fabian noted an increase in the number of OWWA membership renewals last month. From only 200 in August, the figure went up to 347 in September.
She said they accept requests from Filipino workers employed by the same company to bring the OWWA membership and official receipt to them. This applies to companies with more than five Filipino employees.
“We try to accommodate these requests because there are those who cannot come to our office during office hours because of work,” she explained.
Fabian also recommended RNV Foreign Exchange to be the remittance center for the sponsors of OWWA’s Tuloy-Alay (or continuing education) Program. Launched in December 2004, this program aims to help children of former overseas Filipino workers, allowing them to continue their elementary and high school education in the Philippines.
Each sponsor donates $100 for every scholar, and Fabian said there are now 18 sponsors for 28 scholars in the CNMI.
“We have sponsors who would like to continue their assistance to these scholars and we want to encourage that as well,” she told Saipan Tribune.
For more information, visit the OWWA office at the ground floor of Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe or call 235-3411.