Photo by Patty Pasion/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Outgoing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are exempted from the temporary suspension of overseas employment certificate (OEC) issuance if they have a visa issued before November 12, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
“Even if they apply (for an OEC) during this period, they will be granted as long as [they] have proof in their passport that they have a visa issued prior to November 12,” Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say said in a press conference on Tuesday, November 21.
DOLE earlier issued a department order suspending the processing of OEC after reports of irregularities inside the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). POEA is the DOLE attached agency that issues the OEC, a document required of outbound OFWs.
The suspension met criticisms that this will only keep workers from leaving even if they already have their papers all set.
Recruitment expert Emmanuel Geslani also earlier said that this 15-day suspension until December 1 has a “damaging effect to land-based agencies” who already have committed to the foreign employers.
"Airline tickets will have to be rebooked, principals will be angry with agencies, [projects will be delayed], wards of HSW agencies will be upset,” he said in an earlier statement.
The Pilipino Licensed Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT) also called on President Rodrigo Duterte to lift the suspension of the processing of OEC, arguing that this will result to an ”income loss for the workers, most of whom are supporting their respective families.”
POEA officer-in-charge and DOLE undersecretary Bernard Olalia, however, stressed that they are working on finishing their investigation before December 1 so that they could already resume with the processing of the OECs. – Rappler.com