MANILA — A lawmaker has proposed to establish a Global Identification System that would identify overseas Filipino workers as legitimate OFWs to protect them from unnecessary abuse and exploitation during their employment overseas.
Rep. Juan Johnny R. Revilla (Party-list, OFW Family) said the issuance of an OFW Card, as proposed in House Bill 5539, will serve as the primary and only identification card for all OFWs as well as the linkage to various government agencies where the OFWs can access their services.
Revilla said the measure is in recognition of the valuable contributions of OFWs in sustaining the country’s financial stability.
According to Revilla, there is currently an estimated 10 million OFWs in different countries around the world.
“These OFWs have contributed immensely to the economic and financial development of our country through their foreign remittances that saved the Philippines from financial crisis in previous years,” Revilla said.
They are now regarded as present-day heroes for their great sacrifice of being separated from their families to be able to earn decent income to provide their loved-ones and also support the country, said Revilla.
Under the measure, the Philippine government, through the participation of several government agencies shall institute an Identification System covering all OFWs employed abroad.
The OFW ID System shall produce an OFW Card which will serve as the primary and only identification card for all OFWs. The OFW Card shall contain the worker’s name, date of birth, worker’s latest photo, OFW card number, validity dates of OFW Card, Philippine passport number and expiration date, type of work visa, its validity date and expiry, country of employment and employer’s name.
The machine readable OFW Card shall be issued in the Philippines through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for all new OFWs prior their departure. Currently employed OFWs shall be issued the Card by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) at the country of employment.
Further, the OFW Card will also contain electronically their Social Security Number, Pag-IBIG member number and PhilHealth membership number.
The OFW card shall be linked with SSS and will provide access to the member OFWs contributions summary. Similarly, the OFW Card will be linked with the Pag-IBIG Fund’s system so that the member OFW may be able to access his/her contribution summary through the agency’s website. It shall likewise be linked to the PhilHealth system to allow the member OFW to view his/her premium payments.
The bill mandates the POEA to work closely with the Department of Labor and Employment through the POLO, the Department of Foreign Affairs through its Migrant Affairs Office, Philippine Statistics Authority, SSS, Pag-IBIG Fund and PhilHealth.