OFWs in the United States can now enjoy the newly launched OFW e-Card system. The card is a project of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) which provides migrant workers easy access to the agency’s programs. The card can be availed of for free by all active “balik-manggagawa” OFWs with a valid overseas employment certificate (OEC), or an exemption number and a valid passport.
Grave Valera, director of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), relayed the program’s launch to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Sunday. MHC is a Filipino-owned private organization based in Washington, DC which provides legal services and assistance to OFWs based in America.
According to Valera, the first implementation phase of the project will see some 250,000 OFWs receive their e-Card.
OFWs with the card can easily access OWWA programs like welfare services, scholarships, training programs, and social benefits provided by the agency. To avail of these programs, card holding OFWs need only to present their e-card at any OWWA regional welfare office, at the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO), or at embassies/consulates.
The e-Card also serves as a valid government identification card. It also acts as proof of OWWA membership.
Help desks have been established in all US OWWA offices to assist OFWs or others with questions and concerns.
To apply for an e-Card, qualified OFWs may visit the OWWA website, www.owwa.gov.ph, and claim their cards upon their return to the PHilippines. Family members can also act as proxies and pick up the card for the OFW, provided they bring an authorization letter and a copy of the OFW’s passport identification page.