President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. directed the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), in collaboration with other agencies, to explore the possibility of making the application for Overseas Employment Certifications (OEC) free of charge.
The President issued the directive during a meeting with the DMW, Bureau of Immigration (BI), and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in Malacañan Palace, where the migrant agency presented the DMW Mobile App.
DMW Secretary Maria Susana ‘Toots’ Ople said they are just waiting for the approval of the DICT for the official launch of the “DMW Mobile App” to ensure its cybersecurity features.
“Hinihintay lang naming ‘yung green light ng DICT para nakakatiyak tayo sa cybersecurity features ng app. After that, hopefully within the week ma-launch na siya,” Ople said, referring to the ‘DMW Mobile App.
“Kaunting hintay na lang po. Kami po ay nakikinig sa inyo. Alam naming na napakalaking bagay ‘yung OEC. So, ginagawa po naming lahat para ma-address itong issue na ito with the use of technology. So, abangan niyo na lang po. Kaunting pasensya pa po pero malapit na ang ating launch,” she added.
Ople said President Marcos was exuberant over the mobile application as it is a simple yet effective digital solution to the OEC problems encountered by the OFWs when seeking jobs abroad.
“And ang bilin lang niya tiyakin daw ng department na walang babayaran ang ating mga manggagawang migrante, ‘yung ating mga OFWs, sa paggamit nung mobile app, at pag-download at pagkuha ng OFW Pass,” Ople added.
President Marcos earlier directed the DMW and the DICT during his 2022 State of the Nation Address (SONA) to automate the verification of contracts, and issue OECs that can be stored on smartphones.
In response to the President’s directive, the DMW developed the DMW Mobile App which aims to “make an Overseas Filipino Worker’s (OFW) journey easier.”
Secretary Ople said the mobile application is for free as the government’s way of honoring the country’s “modern-day heroes.”
“Ang sabi nga ni Pangulo, kumpara naman doon sa sakripisyo at dangal na dinadala rin ng ating mga OFWs sa ating ‘Inang Bayan’ sabi niya, and of course, the dollar remittances. And sila ‘yung economic lifeline ng so many households across the archipelago,” Ople said.
“So sabi niya gawin niyong libre ‘yan kasi it’s one way for us to honor our modern-day heroes,” she added.
The App contains the OFW Pass, a digital and secure version of the OEC, which serves as the digital identity of OFWs.
After a two- to three-month transition period upon activation, the OFW Pass will completely replace the OEC.
The OFW Pass and OEC have significant differences. The OFW Pass, for instance, is QR-code generated and can be acquired only through the App, while the OEC requires onsite processing with a PhP100 charge.
The OFW Pass is valid until the expiration of the OFW’s work contract, while the OEC only lasts for 60 days.
Those who can avail of OFW Pass are first-time OFWs; Balik Manggagawa OFWs or OFWs going to the Philippines temporarily, but will be returning to the same employer; and OFWs who have transferred to a different employer or whose contracts need to be registered and verified by the Office of the Labor Attaché.
To disseminate the App, the DMW established the OFW Pass Teacher, a volunteer system where registered OFWs will be given relevant materials to teach other OFWs how to utilize the App.
The DICT will test the cybersecurity features of the App and report its findings to the DMW before its public release.
The agency is also expected to integrate its Mobile App with the BI’s eTravel and e-Gate systems, and eventually link it to DICT’s eGov PH Super App.
Google Play and Apple App Store both approved the App for OFW downloading.