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Balik-Manggagawa Online System helps ease long queue to POEA.

Byline: Eunice Barbara C. Novio

I will only have 4day vacation in March next year and it will be from Thursday to Monday. I do not know where to squeeze the day to get my OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate). My Owwa (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) fee is good for two years as well as Philhealth and Pagibig. That was my problem a few days ago. I tweeted Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Hans Leo Cacdac on October 14. After a few minutes he tweeted: Just on a vacation?

I registered to the bmonline after my documents were sent from POEA Laguna to POEA Main Office. Since I have my OEC, and my Owwa is still in effect until 2016, I could get my OEC online anytime upon paying Php100 online through their participating banks or credit cards.

Getting an OEC is tedious to many overseas Filipinos workers especially during the peak seasons during the months of April and December. These times most OFWs come home to attend graduations and spend their vacations with their families.

With more than 2 million OFWs scattered worldwide, even just a small percentage of these are coming home means long lines at the POEA main office in Ortigas and its satellite offices nationwide. Hence, POEA launched the BalikManggagawa Online Processiong System on October 16, 2014.

According to POEA Deputy Administrator Amy Reyes, the website facility will enable the BalikManggagawa or the vacationing OFWs secure their OEC via online so there will be no need for them to queue in any of POEA office or processing site or Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (Polo).

As of October 21, the system has been accessed to and used by 797 BalikManggagawa (BM) and 449 of them were able to secure and print their OECs straight via online, while the rest got their OECs after having an appointment with the office or processing sites based on their appointed time and date and chosen processing office.

The BM Online has a builtin appointment feature intended for vacationing workers whose data may not immediately match what is stored in the system or whose countries of destination are among those considered as restricted markets or those with temporary ban orders for safety and other reasons based on POEA Governing Board's resolutions. OFWs who have set an appointment can go to POEA Main office in Ortigas, SM Trinoma, SM Manila, Duty Free in ParaAaque and PagIbig office in Makati. An OFW can also set an appointment in various regional satellite offices.

For the Polos, POEA is currently test running the system in Singapore, Dubai and Milan. The appointment system including payment at the Polos in these countries have been set up and tested by some workers.

"What we are monitoring right now is the access to payment centers available in these countries that are accredited by our payment gateway," Reyes says.

Payment can also be done using savings account/debit cards that are enrolled for online transactions with participating banks like BPI, Metro Bank, BDO, RCBC, China Bank, East West, Union Bank, UCPB.

"The more OFWs who will try the system, the more we can fine tune its features and efficiency," she says.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 22, 2014
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