(This is an opinion on the article POEA exempts qualified Balik Manggagawa from OEC requirement by GMA News as seen on gmanetwork.com on August 8, 2016.)

By the middle of next month (September 2016), those Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who will be returning to their former employers would not be required to secure an overseas employment certificate (the ever-popular OEC)!

A welcome development for millions (and millions – the Rock’s famous catchphrase) of OFWs suffering for years just to get a hold of one to go back to their jobs abroad.

As reported:

In a statement, the POEA said this is in accordance with POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 12, Series of 2016, issued following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to streamline the processes in deploying OFWs.

The implementation of the resolution “on an experimental basis” will start on September 15, 2016, the POEA said. Covered by the OEC exemption are returning workers who are:

  • returning to the same employer and job site, and listed in the POEA database of OFWs; or
  • hired through POEA’s Government Placement Branch

Meanwhile, to elimate long lines in its offices, the POEA is implementing the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System. It, however, said there is a growing demand to enhance the system for workers returning to the same employer and job site.

The newly issued resolution states that a Balik-Manggagawa shall, prior to departure, register at bmonline.ph and provide personal and employment particulars to validate if the worker is indeed exempted from obtaining the OEC.

The worker’s updated profile will then be forwarded to the Bureau of Immigration, to serve as basis for clearance to exit the country without payment of processing fees.

For those who don’t fall into this category would have to set an appointment with any POEA office or processing center. And for those who went to the airport without prior registration on BM Online System would have to be referred by the Bureau of Immigration to POEA’s Labor Assistance Center to be evaluated to be cleared or asked to complete travel documents.

We are praying and crossing our fingers that this experiment would bear fruit and finally get rid of the painstaking OEC process (sometimes a day is not enough to get it processed in the old system).

OFWs would be rejoicing when the day comes that we’ll truly be able to say R.I.P. OEC!

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