The Philippine government through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) formally launched the first phase of the e-Card for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Tuesday, November 6. This was done after 10-month test phase to ensure that users can fully enjoy the benefits linked with the OFW e-Card.
It can be recalled that the government had announced the implementation of the card last December 2017, with the first phase covering only returning OFWs. But after the extensive tests, the government decided to change the conditions to now include first-time OFWs as recipients of the ID card.
The first phase aims to cater to 250,000 OFWs who could use the card as their all-access pass to many benefits available only for OFWs.
The card can be used for the following:
- As valid government-issued ID
- To avail of exemptions for travel tax and terminal fee
- To access information relevant to government services, including Philhealth and SSS contributions
- To access Integrated Department of Labor and Employment (iDOLE) eServices
- To access OWWA programs such as trainings, scholarships, welfare services, and other social benefits
OWWA administrator Hans Cacdac announced that experts are currently working on turning the OFW e-Card into a valid passport to ensure that OFWs wouldn’t have to worry even if they lose their passport or if their employers take hold of the travel document, as is practiced by many in the Middle East.
The OFW e-Card also comes with a mobile app.
“The OWWA mobile app is another key element in the agency’s digital transformation. With the mobile app, members can browse the latest local news, renew their membership contributions online, keep tabs on their membership records and status, send an email or message directly to the agency’s 24/7 operations center, (OFWs can also) apply for the various OWWA programs and services, and connect to the hotline numbers of the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (Polo) around the world,” said OWWA deputy administrator Atty. Dodo Dulay.
If the OFW loses his/her phone, the app could easily be downloaded on another unit. Users should not worry as the OFW e-Card comes with many security features, including a QR code that would serve as ‘permanent’ ID for the OFWs.