MANILA, Philippines—Re-electionist Senator Alan Peter Cayetano cited the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s quick processing of documents of migrant workers but said the fees it collected from the country’s so-called modern-day heroes should be reduced if not done away with altogether.
Cayetano observed that one migrant worker, identified only a welder named Rex who was bound for Angola, finished his paper work in less than an hour because he had all the documents required by the agency for him to obtain the POEA’s overseas employment certificate or OEC.
Cayetano was dismalyed, however, when two domestic workers who were returning to Saudi Arabia had to be turned back from completing the paperwork because they didn’t have their working visas with them.
“As we could see in the case of Aling Eleanor and Aling Myla ,they had to be asked to come back to the POEA simply because they were not properly briefed by their employment agencies to bring all the necessary documents to get an OEC,” Cayetano said in a statement.
“We call our OFWs modern-day heroes, but it’s unfortunate we couldn’t guide them in the simplest of ways, like giving them a basic checklist of requirements, so they would not have to waste time and money going back and forth to the POEA just to secure an OEC,” he added.
Cayetano visited the POEA queues on Friday to continue the listening tour of his re-election campaign among various sectors. He touched base with Filipino migrant workers as he accompanied them through the processes at the POEA.
Cayetano is scheduled to leave the country next week to campaign among Filipino workers in Hong Kong.
Unlike the two domestic workers, Cayetano noted, Rex’s application for an OEC took less than an hour because he had a complete set of the required documents with him.
Cayetano also met with POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, who briefed him on improvements made by the agency in the processing of OFW documents.
“To be fair to the POEA, there really have been major improvements in their systems and processes to make life more convenient for our OFWs,” Cayetano said.
“It’s good that I was able to talk to both POEA officials and our OFWs themselves so we could have an idea on how to even improve the current system for the benefit of our modern day heroes,” he added.
Cayetano said, however, that the POEA’s fees appeared to be too high. He said that a first-time OFW would have to pay P6,120, while a returning OFW, P2,417.
In his statement, Cayetano said he prefered that OEC fees be reduced “or totally scrap them to further lessen the burden on our OFWs.”