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Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello lll expressed his condolences do the bereaved family of OFW Felma D. Maramag, household service worker (HSW) in Jordan, who was killed, along with her employer, on 05 February 2017. The Secretary instructed OWWA Administrator Leo Hans J. Cacdac to facilitate the release of the benefits to the family of the OFW.  


OFW Maramag’s human remains were repatriated on Saturday, 18 February from Jordan, with connecting flight to Tuguegarao yesterday, Sunday, 19 February. Airport assistance, including documentation processes, was extended to the family of the deceased by the OWWA Region 2 officials, who likewise attended the wake of the late Filipino migrant worker. 


In the initial report submitted by the Philippine Embassy in Amman, Jordan, to the Department of Foreign Affairs, copy furnished POLO/OWWA, the bodies of the two victims were discovered by a police officer upon responding to a call from the Civil Defense Directorate of Jordan regarding a fire where the deceased OFW was employed. The police officer, the report added, brought the bodies of the two to the hospital. Upon autopsy, it would reveal that the OFW died due to blunt force trauma to the head. OFW Maramag also sustained a stab wound on the head, a broken skull, and bruises all over her body.


Per the directive of  Secretary Silvestre Bello, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of OWWA, the family of  the OFW victim was assured of full benefits due them at the soonest  time to help the family cope with the loss of their loved one. 


The family of the murdered OFW is entitled to avail of the full coverage accorded to an active member of the agency which includes P200,000.00 as death benefit, P20,000.00 as burial assistance, scholarship for the 15 year-old-daughter, livelihood assistance amounting to P15,000.00 for the surviving spouse.      


The murder occurred one day after Maramag celebrated her 36th birthday on 04 February. Her two years contract in Jordan would have been completed by next month. She will be interred on 28 February.

OWWA Extends Assistance to 35 OFWs Repatriates from Kuwait

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administrator for Operations Atty. Brigido ‘Dodo’ Dulay leads the agency’s Repatriation Assistance Division (RAD) in according necessary assistance to thirty-five (35) overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) repatriated from Kuwait.


The female OFWs, employed as household service workers (HSWs), are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, Wednesday, 22 February, via Philippine Airlines flight 669 at 8:20 in the morning.


The repatriates experienced various labor and welfare-related issues with their employers that include non-payment of salaries, mistreatment/maltreatment, and long working hours, among others. Aside from airport assistance accorded to the distressed workers including facilitating the release of travel documents from the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Immigration.


OFWs who have no place to stay in Metro Manila will be temporarily accommodated at the OWWA Halfway Home. Cash-strapped HSWs will be given transportation fares and will be accompanied to the bus terminals onward to their respective provinces. Those who have legal issues and concerns with their agencies such as non-payment of salaries will be offered legal advise through the Single-Entry Approach (SEnA) Program. All returning workers are entitled to avail of the inter-agency program Assist WELL Program where WELL stands for Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood, the   Assist WELL is a collaboration program, is a collaboration  between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), OWWA, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The objective of the Assist WELL program is to help the distressed OFWs imbibe a positive outlook in life and to get their lives going by giving them options in their means of livelihood and employment.   


Assist WELL Processing Centers nationwide are located in the following areas: POEA Main Office-Ortigas; OWWA Main Office-Pasay City; NRCO Main Office, Intramuros, Manila; DOLE- CAR, Baguio City; POEA Regional Center for Luzon Region 1, La Union; DOLE Region ll, Tuguegarao; DOLE Region lll, Pampanga; OWWA Regional Office lV-A, Calamba, Laguna; DOLE Region lV-B, Calapan, Mindoro; DOLE Region V, Bicol; DOLE Region Vll, Bacolod; OWWA Regional Welfare Office Vll, Cebu City; DOLE Region Vlll-Tacloban; OWWA Regional Welfare Office lX-Zamboanga; DOLE Region X, Cagayan de Oro; DOLE Region Xl, Davao Field Office; DOLE Region Xll- Koronadal;  and POEA, CARAGA, Butuan City.

OWWA Awards Benefits to Next-of-Kin of Seafarer Killed in Accident

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello lll expressed his condolences upon learning of the tragic accident that claimed the life of Filipino seafarer ALLAN A. NAVALES, who worked as a fitter mechanic onboard M/S Emerald Princess. Bello, Chairman of the OWWA Board of Trustees (BOT), immediately directed OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac to facilitate the release of the benefits due to the family of the late crew.  


In a report  submitted to OWWA Deputy Administrator  Brigido ‘Dodo’ Dulay by Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, the sea-based worker’s manning agency, the accident occurred on 09 February as seafarer Navales  was seen refilling a gas bottle used as device in the launching of the lifeboat davits. The gas bottle supposedly exploded, inflicting multiple traumatic injuries on the seafarer, who was declared dead on the same day. Magsaysay added that it is still confirming the said report, and is closely coordinating with its principal to determine the veracity of the circumstances surrounding the death of the 32-year-old seaman. It was learned that this is the crew member’s third contract with the company.


The deceased OFW’s next-of-kin is eligible to receive the following benefits: P220,000.00 as death benefit; P20,000.00 as burial assistance, scholarship for one child, livelihood assistance of P15,000.00 for the surviving spouse. The benefits awarded to the family is over and above the benefits they will get from the seafarer’s manning agency.

OWWA Deputy Administrator for Operations Brigido Dulay handles the cheque amounting to Php 220,000.00 to the next of kin of deceased OFW Allan A. Navales.

OWWA Bats for More Protection to Children of OFWs

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Justice (DOJ)  forge a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the full protection of  the children of  the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) against any form of abuse by those individuals left behind to look after their welfare. Signatories to the MOU to be held  at the DOLE office in Intramuros, Manila, are Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello lll who represents OWWA, as the agency’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre ll for DOJ, and Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo for DSWD.


Under the Agreement, OWWA shall provide orientation on its programs and services, procedures and processes in availing of programs and other guidelines that may deem necessary for the swift delivery of its programs and services, Intensify child protection campaigns on violence against children especially children of OFWs; Conduct regular consultations and monitoring thru the Family Welfare Officer for the immediate clarification and resolution on issues and concerns raised by the clients; Provide relevant information on specific cases of OFWs, when necessary; assist in the distribution and dissemination of the Child Abuse and Exploitation information materials thru its OFW Family Circles (OFCs) and OFW Help Desks;  Integrate/include the Child Abuse and Exploitation module prepared by the DSWD in its regular conduct of trainings and orientations for OFWs and their families; and report to DSWD, DOJ and other law enforcement authorities suspected child abuse activities and/or brought to its attention in the course of implementation of its programs and services, such as PDOS, community organizing, community meeting/orientation, family counseling, among others.


On the other hand, DOJ shall conduct preliminary investigation on child abuse and exploitation cases; rovide legal advice/assistance to the child/family; Coordinate and monitor the status of referred cases filed at the Prosecutors’ offices and in courts; Ensure child-friendly, child and gender sensitive investigations of cases as stipulated in the DOJ-CSPC Protocol for the Management of Child Victims of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation; conduct speedy preliminary investigation/resolution of referred cases; Participate in the case conferences on cases referred by OWWA; and Participate in the convergence program of the OWWA, DSWD, LGU, and POEA.


In the meantime, DSWD shall provide assistance, shelter and protection on the children of OFWs who are victims of child abuse and exploitation in coordination with the LGUs; coordinate with the agencies covered by this MOU regarding the process of reporting complaints and assistance as well as undertake case management of all cases referred by OWWA and provide status report of such; Participate in the prevention campaign against Child Abuse and Exploitation and enter in a convergence with OWWA, DOLE, LGU, DOJ, AFI; Make available on request resource speakers on Child Abuse and Exploitation; provide information materials on the campaign against Child Abuse and Exploitation such as brochures, pamphlets, posters as well as copies of recent child abuse laws and regulation for distribution in their respective constituencies; Provide other forms of assistance, pursuant to its mandate under Executive Order No. 221 and Executive Order No. 1 that define the mandate, roles, powers and functions of the DSWD and its implementing  Rules and Regulations, and for other purposes, as may be requested; Take the lead in the conduct of psycho-social interventions/referrals and case conferences on cases referred by OWWA; and integrate issues and concerns of children of OFWs in the Family Development Sessions (FDs) and Parenting Effectiveness Sessions (PES) modules.


The MOU complements Republic Act No. 7610, “An Act Providing Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination”, and Republic Act No. 9262, “An Act on Violence Against Women and their Children” (VAWC).


The government is quite alarmed by the national baseline study on violence against children initiated by the Council for the Welfare of Children and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which states that  migration is one of the reasons of physical, sexual, or psychological violence to children citing the following: Two (2)  out of three (3) children reported to have experienced any form of physical violence; one (1) out of four (4) children reported to have suffered from any form of sexual violence; and three (3) out of five (5) children reported to experience peer  violence or bullying.


Further, tall tale reports of children of OFWs, notably the heart wrenching case of the death of the two-year-old boy, son of an OFW in Hong Kong, who succumbed to death due to cruelty inflicted on him by no less than his mother’s trusted relatives disguised as ‘caretakers’. 


“The bolt-in of the three government  agencies, DOJ, DSWD, and OWWA, to bolster the well-being of the children of OFWs serves as a balancing act between the desire of OFW parents to provide  the needs of their children by working abroad on one hand, and to ensure that their children are in the `safe hands’ of the people they have chosen to look after the well-being of their loved ones. Hopefully, thru this MOU among our partners, we will be able to realize a zero-victim/casualty of any form of abuse to children of OFWs. After all, we do now wish to see a double-whammy situation; an absent parent and an abused child, ”, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said.


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is fast tracking the release of the package of benefits due to the families of two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Oman who died in the early morning of Saturday, 04 February 2017, when a fire gutted the workers’ accommodation.


Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello lll immediately instructed OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac to immediately respond to the needs of the families left behind by OFWs Susan Padojinog and Emilia Bobo. OFW Bobo, who was one of the fatalities, celebrated her 41st birthday on 02 February 2017. The two OFWs worked as hairstylists at the Golden Coast Trading.


The  families of the fire victims one from  South Cotabato and the other from Quezon, were informed of the unfortunate incident by the Philippine Overseas Labor Officials (POLO)  in Oman. There were twenty-two workers staying in the accommodation when the area was engulfed by the fire. Fifteen of the occupants were Filipino nationals.


Meanwhile, officials of POLO-OWWA, along with the representatives of the OFWs’ foreign recruitment agency (FRA) in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, visited the OFWs who suffered minor injuries due to the blaze. Eleven victims were confined at the Oman Royal Hospital, while one victim was brought to Oman Khoula Hospital for treatment as a result of smoke inhalation. Currently, the OFWs are reportedly in stable condition and are recuperating. The FRA paid for the victims’ hospital bills including medicines and laboratory exams/results.


OWWA Officer-in-Charge Josefino I. Torres assured the families of the victims that OWWA will closely coordinate with POLO-Oman and monitor the condition of the fire victims. He added that his office is awaiting for the advise on the repatriation of the human remains of the two fatalities and/or request for repatriation of the fire survivors.


“We are aware that although the victims have survived the incident, they may still be in trauma or in a state of shock considering that two of their co-workers did not make it. Thus, as part of the OWWA’s  program and service, we may conduct psycho-social counseling to them when they arrive in case they decide to come home to be with their respective families,” OIC Torres said.


In the meantime, OIC Torres volunteers that the next-of-kin (NOK) of OFWs Padojinog and Bobo are entitled to full coverage of the agency’s programs and services since their relatives were active OWWA members at the time of their demise. He enumerated that these include death benefits due to accident of P200,000.00, P20,000 burial benefits, psycho-social counseling, scholarship and livelihood components of Education and Livelihood Assistance Program or ELAP i.e. livelihood package of P15,000.00 to the family’s business venture of their choice; and educational assistance to one OFW beneficiary from elementary, high school or college, as the case may be, until the child finishes college. OFWs are likewise covered by mandatory insurance by their respective recruitment/manning agencies.

MOU on the Incorporation of AHOCI Sub-module in the PDOS and PEOS

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Incorporation of Agency Hired Overseas Filipino Worker Compulsory Insurance (AHOCI) Sub–Module in the Pre-Employment Orientation Seminars (PEOS) and Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS).


The MOU was signed today, 27 January 2017, by OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, POEA Officer-In-Charge Dominador R. Say and Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa, during the Insurance Commission’s 68th Anniversary Celebration at the Insurance Commission Grounds, UN Avenue, Manila.


This collaboration aims to advance the protection of the rights and welfare of migrant workers thru promoting awareness among OFWs, their beneficiaries, and the general public on the coverages and benefits of the compulsory insurance.


The AHOCI is pursuant to Section 37–A of RA No. 8042, as amended by RA No. 10022, otherwise known as “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995,” states that each migrant worker deployed by a recruitment or manning agency shall be covered by a compulsory insurance policy which shall be secured at no cost to the said worker, which shall remain valid during the duration of the migrant worker’s employment and shall cover (1) accidental death, (2) natural death, (3) permanent total disablement, (4) repatriation cost, (5) subsistence allowance, (6) money claims, (7) compassionate visit, (8) medical evacuation, and (9) medical repatriation.

OWWA Admin Cacdac's visit to the family of OFW Pawa

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, together with OWWA RWO IX Director Hassan Gabra T. Jumdain, POEA Regional Ext. Unit IX Head Marietta Bellotindos, and DOLE Region IX Assistant Regional Director Yahya Centi, visited the family of OFW Jakatia Pawa,yesterday, 27 January 2017.


OWWA offered a package of programs and services to the bereaved family of OFW Pawa, the household service worker (HSW) executed in Kuwait in the afternoon of Wednesday, 25 January 2017.


OWWA RWO 9 will continue to monitor the welfare and well-being of the children of OFW Pawa per instructions of Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and Administrator Cacdac.

OWWA Admin Cacdac's visit to the family of OFW Pawa

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, together with OWWA RWO IX Director Hassan Gabra T. Jumdain, POEA Regional Ext. Unit IX Head Marietta Bellotindos, and DOLE Region IX Assistant Regional Director Yahya Centi, visited the family of OFW Jakatia Pawa,yesterday, 27 January 2017.


OWWA offered a package of programs and services to the bereaved family of OFW Pawa, the household service worker (HSW) executed in Kuwait in the afternoon of Wednesday, 25 January 2017.


OWWA RWO 9 will continue to monitor the welfare and well-being of the children of OFW Pawa per instructions of Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and Administrator Cacdac.

For OWWA, Urgency is the Order of the Day

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac is pleased with the outcome of the report prepared by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) on the implementation of the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) Program for the period of January 1 to November 30, 2016 where OWWA disposed and settled OFW cases within six (6) days from filing. The validated reports by SEnA implementers on 14 December 2016 were submitted to Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello lll.   


According to Administrator Cacdac  who practices a  “hands-on management style” particularly on matters involving the welfare and protection of OFWs, SEnA would lessen and/or eradicate the “turu- turuan” system  in filing  cases  where complaining OFWs are being referred from one office to  another which in effect is detrimental to the interest of the public.


During the 11-month period, OWWA handled Requests for Assistance (RFAs) resulting from various cases, namely; contract violations/substitutions, non-payment of wages and overtime pay, payment of end-of-service benefits, mistreatment, maltreatment, poor living condition, retrieval of passport and/or travel documents, among others.


From January to November 2016, OWWA received a total of 5,382 cases and 5,557 RFAs. Out of the 5,382 cases, 5,067 were settled (with settlement rate of 91%) while out of the 5,557 RFAs, 5,273  were disposed (with a disposition rate of 95%), within 6 days from filing or within the 30-day mandatory period. Not a single case was dropped by any OFW-complainant due to lack of interest.


Further, the monetary benefits awarded to 5,671 OFWs by the OWWA was recorded at Php132,919,057.20. The figures showing the disposition and settlement rate in implementing SEnA is a good indication that the agency is capable to handle OFW cases. This gesture, added by the OWWA chief manifests the “trust” and “confidence” from the OFW clients.


OWWA Chief Cacdac stressed that OWWA will continue to serve the interests of the OFWs the best possible way, at the soonest time, since he stresses that he always instills in the minds of the OWWA personnel that “urgency is always the order of the day in OWWA”, that is why every case of OFW is treated as important as any case for that matter.


Online Payment Services in store for OWWA members: OWWA and LBP ink Memorandum of Agreement for Electronic Payment Portal (ePP)

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) for the implementation of online payment of OWWA membership thru LBP’s Electronic Payment Portal (ePP).


The MOA was signed yesterday, 17 January 2017, by OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac and LBP President and CEO Alex V. Buenaventura at the DOLE Office in Intramuros, Manila. The ceremonial signing was witnessed by DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and LBP Senior Vice President Liduvino S. Geron.


Under the agreement, Landbank’s ePP, an internet-based payment system, shall be made accessible to Balik Manggagawa OFWs who wish to renew their OWWA membership by allowing them to pay their contributions via the internet using any of the payment options being offered by Landbank.


“This collaboration with LBP is envisioned to provide OWWA members with faster and more accessible means of renewing their membership to ensure their protection while working overseas. We, at OWWA, believe that we should use the available technology to our advantage, that is why we are working hard to integrate it in our programs to enhance service delivery to our OFW-clients”, Administrator Cacdac said.