All existing Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) will soon be replaced by the new ‘Migrant Workers’ Office’ (MWO). This will be a one-stop office for all Filipino workers’ requirements concerning their work abroad, whether they are new or seasoned.
To all migrant workers, please be advised of these possible changes as the newly created Department of Migrant Workers is in transition period and will soon take over the functions of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO), and other agencies related to migrant workers.
Please be advised that the MWO is still in its transition period, and that there may be changes in the way things are done. However, the goal is to make things more efficient and convenient for all migrant workers. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we move towards this new system. Thank you.
Section 15 of Republic Act 11641 states that the establishment of the MWO will be among the first to witness in countries with a large number of OFWs.
What is the Migrant Workers Office (MWO)?
The MWO will also be the go-to office for OFWs who wish to file complaints or seek resolution on any problem they may have encountered while working abroad.
In addition, the MWO will also offer a wide range of services that will make it easier for OFWs to secure the necessary documents and clearances before leaving for work abroad. This includes processing of OEC (Overseas Employment Certificates), OWWA Membership, Contract Verification, and other related labor documents.
The MWO will also provide orientation seminars to ensure that OFWs are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities before they leave for work abroad. The PDOS will cover a wide range of topics such as the standard employment contract, workers’ compensation, and repatriation procedures, among others.
What Services can an OFW Get in the Migrant Workers Office?
The MWO will offer the following services:
1. Processing of Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs)
2. OWWA membership
3. Contract verification
5. Other related labor documents
6. Assistance in filing complaints
7. Resolution of problems encountered by OFWs while working abroad
Similar to the function of its predecessor, among the priority tasks of the newly-formed MWO will be to ensure the promotion and protection of the welfare and interests of OFWs and assist them in all problems arising out of employer-employee relationships.
This includes assistance for OFWs whose employers were found to have violated work contracts, non-payment of wages and other benefits, illegal dismissal, and other violations of the terms and conditions of their employment.
Functions of Department of Migrant Workers Act
The new MWO office will take over all of the duties and powers currently handled by the POLO offices, Office of Social Welfare Attachés (OSWAs), as well as OFW-related responsibilities of the Assistance to Nationals arm of Philippine embassies and consulates.
- Verify employment contracts and other employment-related documents
- Pursue, in coordination with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate, discussion on labor and other issues and concerns with the foreign government and/or embassies concerned, and international organizations
- Provide social and welfare programs and services to OFWs, including social assistance, education and training, cultural services, financial management, reintegration, and entrepreneurial development services
- Manage cases of and provide psychosocial services to OFWs in distress, such as victims of trafficking in persons or illegal recruitment, rape, or sexual abuse, maltreatment, and other forms of physical abuse.
- Verify the whereabouts, status, and condition of OFWs
- Provide appropriate assistance to victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking in persons, kidnapping, hostage victims, and other victims of other crimes in cooperation with the DFA
- Perform other functions and responsibilities as may be assigned by the Secretary
- Monitor and report to the Secretary on situations and policy developments in the receiving country that may affect OFWs in particular, and Philippine labor policies, in general
- Supervise and coordinate the operations of the Migrant Workers Resource Center (MWRC)
- Provide prompt and appropriate responses to global emergencies or crisis situations affecting Filipino nationals through close cooperation and coordination with the DFA
- Regularly update the online database system provided under Section 18 of this Act to facilitate and ensure the delivery of appropriate, timely, and effective welfare services to OFWs and their families
- Facilitate the repatriation of distressed OFWs and their families, including shipment of remains and personal belongings
- Provide assistance, legal or otherwise in labor, criminal, immigration, and other cases filed by or against OFWs, whether detained or not.
- Conduct hospital visitation, and provide necessary assistance until the full recovery of the OFW concerned, and their immediate family members, where practicable and appropriate
- Ensure the protection of women migrant workers by ensuring the designation of a gender focal point officer in its offices and in MWRCs, and the conduct of regular gender-sensitivity
Also Read: DMW Programs and Projects
Video: Fast and Speedy Transaction for OFWs in Migrant Workers Office
Over 1.7 million Filipinos are working abroad, according to government figures, and their earnings are aiding the country’s economic recovery.
The Migrant Workers department was established to make things easier for OFW’s to get their papers and seek aid from the government. The department secretary has also issued a call for all relevant agencies to follow the law.
Here’s a video clip featuring this new department:
As mentioned, the DMW office is still in transition stages so there will be changes in the coming year as the Migrant Workers office is still being set up. As of the moment though, it will just be the POLO offices managing the current services.
The new Migrant Workers Welfare Office (MWO) will help protect the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by taking over all the duties and powers currently handled by the POLO offices, Office of Social Welfare Attachés (OSWAs), as well as OFW-related responsibilities of the Assistance to Nationals arm of Philippine embassies and consulates.
The MWO will also provide social and welfare programs and services to OFWs, including social assistance, education and training, cultural services, financial management, reintegration, and entrepreneurial development services.