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OWWA responds to COA findings on high-end gadgets

In response to a news article citing the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the purchase of high-end mobile phones and electronic gadgets, OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado said that explanation/clarification to the audit observation has already been submitted to COA.


The news article pointed out that COA questions the excessive purchase of Apple iPads and iPhones and that more than one gadget is issued to some employees. The audit team further observed that these high-end smartphones and tablets have the same capabilities compared to less expensive brands.


OWWA justified the acquisition of the said gadgets are within the limit by making it clear that the iPhone units were not purchased but are offered “free” as inclusion to the post-paid plans, with 24 months lock-in period, availed by the agency. OWWA further stressed that these post-paid plans are more advantageous to the government than separate purchases of individual mobile phones.


OWWA has submitted a list of the active units of iPhones and the corresponding users to show that no official was issued more than one mobile phone.


iPads, on the other hand, were issued to OWWA key officials because of the necessity to check and transmit urgent and important e-mail messages when they are outside the office attending interagency meetings and other official functions.


Administrator Calzado ensures the OWWA clientele and the public that the agency stands by its commitment of a transparent and judicious fund stewardship. Furthermore, the agency has been astute in the utilization of its funds by strict adherence to the government procurement process.

OWWA and PhilHealth Team Up for MEDplus

OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado and PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Alexander A. Padilla signed today, 02 June 2016, the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the Supplemental Medical Assistance Program for OFWs or MEDplus, a medical assistance program for OFWs that supplements the benefit provided by PhilHealth.


The MEDplus, approved for implementation by the OWWA Board of Trustees in September 2015, is a one-time financial assistance provided to active OWWA and PhilHealth members who are diagnosed with and subsequently hospitalized due to a dreaded disease whether in the Philippines or in their country of employment.  It matches the benefit granted by PhilHealth to its members under its case rate system but not to exceed fifty thousand pesos (P 50,000.00) per member.  Subsequent availments are allowed for the same dreaded disease but not to exceed the limit. The list of dreaded diseases is jointly identified and defined by OWWA and PhilHealth.


OFWs whose OWWA membership coverage has already lapsed but are still active PhilHealth members are given additional sixty (60) days coverage upon expiry of OWWA membership validity.


Under the agreement, OWWA shall implement the program through its eighteen (18) Regional Welfare Offices (RWOs) throughout the country. RWOs shall accept and process claims, in accordance with the guidelines to be crafted by OWWA and PhilHealth within 60 days upon signing of the MOA. RWOs shall, likewise, maintain a database on availments.


PhilHealth shall provide training and access to MyPhilHealth Portal to authorized OWWA personnel for purposes of online verification of PhilHealth benefit payments to its members as it will be the basis of processing MEDplus claims.


“MedPlus is part of OWWA’s commitment to continually develop and implement welfare programs that are responsive to the needs of OFWs and their families. This collaboration with the PhilHealth will help our member-OFWs further reduce their medical expenses.” Administrator Calzado said.

Insurances of the EPS Returnee Workers as of 27 May 2016
Baldoz to illegal Filipino migrants in South Korea: Avail of voluntary departure to avoid re-entry ban

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz enjoined illegally staying Filipinos in South Korea to avail of the Korean Government’s six months voluntary departure program to avoid the penalty of re-entry ban imposed to undocumented foreigners.


According to the Labor Chief, the South Korea government has implemented the voluntary departure for illegal migrants program, which started on 1 April and will end on 30 September this year.


All illegal migrants willing to leave the country must have viable passports and airline tickets and report to immigration offices on the day of their departure.


As of January 2016, there are 54,437 Filipinos residing in Korea and 12,364 of them are illegally staying or working in the country. “We are enjoining undocumented Filipinos in South Korea to avail of this program, thus avoid being entangled with South Korea’s immigration laws,” said Baldoz.


“The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in South Korea is willing to cooperate to South Korea government by widely disseminating the voluntary return program through its official website and Facebook and by distributing the leaflets of the program at the Consular Section,” Baldoz said, adding that the program will also be promoted at any opportunity to the Filipino community.


The Ministry of Justice (MOJ)-Korea Immigration Service earlier discussed the management of illegal migrants with labor-sending countries, which includes China, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, East Timor, Kazakhstan, and Russia.


The South Korean’s immigration policy temporarily suspends the re-entry ban for those who will submit themselves to the scheme; thus will have the privilege from being exempted from the five-year re-entry ban imposed on over stayers, and from the penalty for illegal migrants and their employers.


Aside from the exemptions, those who will opt for voluntary departure can leave the country freely without detention and can go back to Korea after receiving the re-entry visa from the diplomatic mission abroad.


“This is an opportunity for labor sending countries to enjoin their nationalities who are illegally staying or working in South Korea to voluntarily return to their home countries by submitting themselves to the scheme, thus prevent the possibility of being deported and banned,” said Baldoz.


Among the sanctions that an illegal migrant will face once caught by the authorities include a re-entry ban for up to five years regardless of the period of overstaying, and imposition of an enhanced criminal penalty and increased fines.


Meanwhile, as standing procedure of the scheme, all illegal migrants willing to leave the country must secure a flight ticket, valid passport and other pertinent travel documents, and to report to immigration offices at all ports of entry on the day of their departure.


However, if they entered the country using a forged passport, there will be more time needed for verification of identify. In this case, they are advised to visit immigration offices prior to the scheduled flight departure time.


The Immigration offices at ports of entry in South Korea can be reached at 032-740-7391-2 for Incheon Airport and 051-979-1300 for Gimhae.


As of January 2016, there are 53,437 Filipinos residing in Korea and 25,421 belong to the non-professional employment category, or those who work in the manufacturing sector like in factories or agro-processing establishments.


According to reports, the higher number of foreigners in Korea is due to the expansion of its entry permits to boost tourism and invite more investments.


To deter illegal immigration, the South Korean government has formulated plans to prevent the entry of foreigners deemed as “high risk” in becoming illegals, and to deter South Korean companies from employing illegal workers.


The Korea Immigration Service has also undertaken crackdown, together with the police, as part of the government’s twice-a-year curbing of illegal workers and immigration criminals, including illegal migration brokers.

Baldoz warns public of scam masquerading as job fair-related recruitment

Beware of unscrupulous individuals who have found a scheming way of riding on in DOLE job fairs to victimize unsuspecting job seekers.


“I am sad to say there are unscrupulous individuals who use our own job fairs as a venue to peddle illegal recruitment scams and lure unsuspecting jobseekers to fall in their dubious machinations. I warn jobseekers to report them at once to us so that we can take appropriate action,” said Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.


Baldoz issued the statement and the warning yesterday after she received a reliable report from an employer representative in Davao City the other day that there are individuals apparently riding on in DOLE job fairs by distributing pieces of paper to applicants allegedly coming from a hiring company or job fair organizers, and asking for personal details of victims, such as phone number and email addresses.


The scammers later contact job applicants, and tell them that they have been selected. After which, they will be required to deposit P1,000 – 1,500 to a money remittance company, allegedly for pre-employment and physical examination. This comes with an instruction that after the deposit, the applicant must contact the scammer’s number for further instructions.


Scammers use a fictitious name of an alleged company HR staff as contact person.


The Secretary enjoined all DOLE regional offices to be on guard of this modus operandi and report them immediately to police authorities.


“I also urge our partners from Public Employment Service Offices in local government units to be on alert of this new scam and help us disseminate this warning to people in their localities,” Baldoz said.


Last week, Secretary Baldoz advised jobseekers wanting to work overseas, especially in the United Kingdom, to be wary of fake job vacancies posted in the internet.


This after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration warned of bogus job vacancies postings in the internet and enticing Filipino workers to apply for non-existent jobs in the United Kingdom.

Baldoz urges public to support POEA's online anti-illegal recruitment campaign

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday urged the public to support the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s social media-based anti-illegal recruitment (AIR) campaign.


“Since illegal recruiters are using the internet, especially through the social media, in victimizing jobseekers, the POEA has stepped up its AIR drive by harnessing the power of information and communications technology to inform and educate the public,” Baldoz said.


Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said the POEA has recently partnered with the SVEN Group, a digital agency that is committed to spearhead a vibrant and dynamic digital campaign to protect Filipino workers from illegal recruiters and scammers who also use the internet prowling for possible targets.


“Illegal recruiters are now actively using the social media to attract more victims. They are using Facebook, emails and even Twitter, to promote their illegal schemes,” Cacdac said.


Cacdac said the SVEN Group, in collaboration with the POEA, has started implementing the “ediWoW” AIR campaign on digital media. Among the projects are:


a) Joint Facebook account of MANILYN LANG and MANOLO LOKO (https//, the two (2) characters representing illegal recruitment.


b) Separate twitter accounts of MANILYN LANG and MANOLO LOKO (@_manilynlang and @manololoko).


c) Enhanced POEA AIR Facebook campaign page which includes the creation of caricature character named JUAN PANALO. Juan Panalo represents the ideal Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and is the figure that will be used when promoting all the legal ways of overseas employment (


“I enjoin our DOLE regional offices, the public employment service offices, and our legitimate employer partners, to help in protecting the public from these illegal recruiters. Let us pin down these illegal recruitment activities with our concerted effort,” said Baldoz.


SVEN Group has also produced digital videos to promote the said social media accounts.


Still in the pipeline is the development of a POEA AIR campaign website and a promotional infographic video.


SVEN Group is also currently sourcing social media influencers as digital partners for press release content and advertorial placements.

DFA and COMELEC recognize TFC for its continued support for overseas voting

Overseas voting turnout breaks past election records; TFC makes final call for overseas Filipinos to #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH before closing of overseas voting on May 9 worldwide


(Quezon City May 6, 2016) - As the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA OVS) and the Commission on Elections Office for the Overseas Voting (COMELEC OFOV) announce that overseas voting turnout has broken past election records this week with 303,103 total voters to date, the two agencies acknowledged The Filipino Channel (TFC) and the network’s continued support for overseas voting in the recently concluded “Media Recognition Night” held at Macapagal Avenue in Manila, Philippines.

A few days before the closing of the overseas voting on May 9, Manila time, COMELEC OFOV Chairman and Commissioner Arthur Lim awarded the plaque of recognition to TFC, represented by Ailene Averion, ABS-CBN managing director for Asia Pacific, for helping the agencies surpass the 1 million mark (1,376,067) of registered voters for purposes of the national and local elections, through concerted efforts.


Commissioner Lim said: “We give credit where credit is due.  Without media, all these strides that have been taken, among them, breaching the 1 million registered voter mark, would not have been fruitful.  It was through media, that voter information; voter education; and interest in overseas voting were really developed and encouraged.”

As part of its thrust to be that veritable companion in overseas Filipinos’ journey overseas as they build a future for themselves and their families, TFC first entered into a partnership with DFA OVS and COMELEC OFOV in 2012 for the propagation of OFs’ right to suffrage, key to enabling them to choose the next leaders.  For the 2012 registration and 2013 elections, the three organizations jointly developed the campaign “Boto Mo, Kinabuakasan ng Bawat Filipino” which tells of how the future of every Filipino lies in their hands.

Through its reach across North America, Europe, Oceania, Middle East, and the rest of Asia; and its multi-platform coverage from internet protocol television (IPTV), satellite, cable and online (; including its community engagements via theatrical and special events, TFC has brought the campaign multi-fold.

In 2015, the prestigious PR Society of the Philippines (PRSP) recognized the campaign for effectively reaching the most number of Filipinos, convincing these registered OFs to register and helping the agencies to convert them into voters. 

On the same year, DFA OVS and COMELEC renewed ties to support the 2016 elections, yet again.  Starting with the registration campaign, TFC shared with OFs all over the world about how they have the right to choose the country’s next government official; that their vote matters despite their distance; and the two agencies have made it easier for them to register via the irehistro campaign led by broadcast journalist Atom Araullo.

This year the campaign takes on a new phase by leveraging on the power of social media, specifically the selfie, to engage the OFs to paint a better picture of the Philippines through their own posts.  With two public service announcements dubbed “Selfie” and “Groufie,” TFC encouraged OFs to take selfies of themselves or their families and loved ones, with a background of what they want changed in the Philippines and post it on their social media networks using the hash tag #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH

Celebrities have heeded the call and have shared their own thoughts on the coming elections: 


1.) “It’s Showtime,” "Sakto,"  and “Umagang Kay Ganda” host Amy Perez; comedienne – actress Marietta “Pokwang” Subong,” actress and “TFC Connect” host Dimples Romana; PBB Teen Housemates Joj and Jai; and comedienne Kitkat

2.) Icons and emerging artists from the music industry such as Inspirational Diva Jamie Rivera, and “The Next Big Diva" Morissette

3.) News personalities such as of overseas voting campaign ambassador "Red Alert" host, and highly popular broadcast journalist Atom Araullo; TV Patrol anchor and Sagip Kapamilya advocate Bernadette Sembrano; and respected broadcast journalist, and overseas Filipino advocate Jing Castañeda, award-winning broadcast journalist and "Bandila" host Julius Babao, “Mismo” host Awhel Paz; ANC’s Mornings@ANC host and widely followed reporter Ginger Conejero, TV Patrol’s Tara Grets host Gretchen Fulido; "Magandang Gabi Dok" host Niña Corpuz; and highly respected ANC anchor Cathy Yang

4.) Umagang Kay Ganda, ABS-CBN Sports + Action, and DZMM Teleradyo’s Tina Marasigan;, ANC & DZMM’s Barbie Salvador; as well as My Only Radio For Life’s (MOR 101.9), DJ Chacha, and comedian-host and “Pangako Sa `Yo’s” DJ Jai Ho

5.) Music Myx VJ Ai dela Cruz and Boto Mo, Patrol Mo (BMPM) brand ambassador Gretchen Ho


Through the help of these selfies, TFC hopes to help the two agencies gain momentum in the last seven days.  As of today, there are 303,103 registrants who have cast their votes versus last election’s 118,823 voters end of period in 2015 or 16% turnout, and which has already beaten the turnout in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013.

Voting is open for Overseas Filipinos until May 9 Manila time.  OFs can go to their nearest Philippine Embassy, MISSION or Manila Economic and Cultural Office and bring their valid passport and ID.  For dual citizens, they can bring the original or certified true copy of the order of approval of their application to retain or require allegiance issued by the post or the Bureau of Migration. For seafarers, they can bring a copy of their seaman’s book and valid ID.

OFs can also continue to participate in TFC’s overseas voting campaign and post a scene or scenario they want improved in the homeland, use the #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH and post on their social networking sites.  For more information, visit,

Commissioner Arthur Lim, Marianne de Vera, Ambassador Princess, MD Ailene Averion, Atty. Jane Valeza, Lawrence Reyes, & Ed Castro

COMELEC OFOV Chairman Commissioner Arthur Lim


Ulat sa mga Boss na Manggagawang Pilipino









The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) celebrated its 34th Foundation Day yesterday, with the theme: “OWWA@34:... Kabalikat ng OFW at Pamilya”. The theme captures the long, solid years of dedicated service to OFWs and their families, via programs and services attuned to the needs of its clients.


The simple celebration of the agency’s anniversary began with the regular Monday morning flag-raising ceremony, and Holy Mass officiated by Father Resty Ogsimer, Executive Secretary, CBCP-ECMI. Leading the event was Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado, together with the OWWA Family. Highlight of the celebration was the conferment of Loyalty awards to deserving employees.


“As we celebrate OWWA’s 34th anniversary, we also recognize the loyalty and dedication of our employees to serve their clients the best they can. Everybody in OWWA is motivated to walk the `extra mile’ in attending to the needs of our members and their families. This has established a sense of rapport between OWWA and its clientele, and between clients and the government, in general, ”OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado said.


The 34 years of OWWA’s existence, the OWWA Administrator added, bears witness to the agency’s brand of OFW-friendly agency that has touched the lives of hundreds of OFWs.


As the premier agency that takes care of the welfare and well-being of the OFWs and their families, OWWA does not only takes good care of its OFW clientele, but also makes sure that the employees are given due recognition as the backbone of the agency.


The 24/7 kind of service ingrained through the years, becomes the ‘brand of OWWA’s service’ as the men and women deployed abroad, as well as personnel at the central office and in 17 regional offices nationwide, are motivated to do their tasks, not just in a mechanical manner, but a kind of service with a ‘heart’.


As part of the Assist WELL Program of the Department of Labor and Employment, OWWA continues to contribute to the well-being of returning OFWs thru OWWA’s provision of welfare assistance, resolution of cases under the single-entry-approach (SENA) and training for entrepreneurship development thru the agency’s livelihood programs.


Given the opportunity to venture into business and become their own bosses, future OFW entrepreneurs will undergo rigid training in skills, knowledge and techniques, the technical-know-how in a life-changing world of entrepreneurship via the Enhanced Entrepreneurial Development Training sessions. The rationale of the improved business training is to make sure that OFWs are well prepared to enter the world, which once was alien to them. This way, the entire gamut of the phases of entrepreneurship will be thoroughly discussed for the appreciation of the OFWs once they decide to continue and pass all phases of the livelihood training.


OWWA’s livelihood projects are in the form of the “Balik-Pinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay” livelihood program and the 2B OFW Reintegration Program, a loan facility in partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines. Hopefully, with these livelihood projects, OWWA remains positive that it will generate interest among returning OFWs to avail of the program offered to them by OWWA.


OWWA is looking forward to another meaningful year of service. It will continue to review existing programs and introduce new ones to improve the lives of OWWA members and their families.