"Hold consultations among OFWs groups"
After criticizing the new procedure in getting travel clearance for overseas Filipino workers saying that it will only cause an added burden, a Filipino migrants' rights group Friday urges Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Mr. Carlos Cao, Jr. to reconsider the new procedure and instead conduct a consultation with OFWs groups and their leaders.
On Thursday, POEA chief Carlos Cao, Jr. had been quoted by local reports saying the new procedure in getting an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) that serves as a travel clearance for all OFWs would "allow to efficiently manage OFWs time in securing travel exit clearance by adjusting the processing time in two phases."
The new procedure will take effect on July 1, according to the POEA.
"If this new procedure will be implemented on July 1 amid OFWs protestations, then we will be up in arms, so to speak, to wage an international campaign against this burdensome and anti-OFW procedure," Monterona warned.
The new procedure entails two phases: one phase is submission of the required documents for verification and to be done on the first day, while the second phase for the second day -to be pre-scheduled by the POEA- is the paying of fee and issuance of the OEC.
"The POEA chief being new to his job, could better solicit bright and meaningful insights from the OFWs and their organizations whom I believed may contribute in its effort to unburden the OFWs from bureaucratic processes," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona explained that not all OFWs are living within Metro Manila and nearby provinces. "In fact, most of our OFWs are coming from the provinces, thus the new procedure that entails a 2-day undertaking will only be an added burden, cost and time, to get exit clearance," he added.
Monterona said for one, the POEA could link-up with local government units (Cities/Municipalities and Provincial governments) to set up a processing section that will do the renewal and issuance of exit clearance for vacationing OFWs in their provinces.
"I'm certain, the Mayors and Governors will agree on this set-up as this is for the benefit of their OFWs constituents," Monterona added.
Monterona added that there may be more ideas to solicit from various OFWs groups in regards to decongesting the Balik-Mangagawa center in POEA main office in Pasig.
"The POEA chief should think that the foremost consideration is to unburden our OFWs, not only POEA employees," Monterona ended.