MANILA, Philippines—Reelectionist Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano cited the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) for the quick processing of documents of migrant workers but noted that the fees should be reduced or done away with altogether.
Cayetano saw how one migrant worker, identified only as Rex, a welder bound for Angola, completed his paper work in less than an hour because he had all the documents required by the POEA to secure an overseas employment certificate (OEC).
On the other hand, Cayetano noted that two domestic workers returning to Saudi Arabia were turned back in the bureaucratic process 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 can’t guide them in the simplest of ways, like giving them a basic checklist of requirements so they do 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 on Friday as part of the listening tour in his reelection campaign. He touched base with Filipino migrants as he accompanied them through the processes at the POEA.
Cayetano is scheduled to campaign among Filipino workers in Hong Kong this week.
Cayetano met with POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, who briefed the senator on the improvements 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.
But Cayetano said the POEA’s fees appeared to be too high, noting that a first-time OFW would have to pay around P6,120, while a returning OFW, only P2,417.
In his statement, Cayetano said that OEC fees should be reduced “or totally scrapped to further lessen the burden on our OFWs.”—Norman Bordadora