An anticipated long weekend coupled with public holidays is just around the corner. During this time of Chinese New Year season, a lot of fellow kababayan are returning home for longer vacation. (Friends, this particular post is intended for Filipinos living in Singapore).
OEC or Overseas Employment Certificate is a document required by the POEA or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration as a means to document OFWs working overseas. I used to think it’s just a mere document to obtain to be exempted from paying Terminal Fee and Travel Tax in any Philippine airport’s Departure area. It’s more.
1) Completed OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) Form
2) Original Passport with 6 months validity
3) Valid Working Pass (E Pass, S Pass, Work Permit)
4) Round Trip ticket
5) Proof of OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) Membership
6) Latest Receipt of PAG-IBIG Membership Contribution
For more detailed info, here’s the link: http://www.philippine-embassy.org.sg/labor/overseas-employment-certificate-oec/oec
My (Recent) Experience
You can see how it is by just returning home – a set of nitty-gritty documents has to be accomplished! More often, I would think, I’d rather go to visit another country where I only need a ticket and accommodation. You can imagine – it’s a breeze.
My recent experience at the POEA – I was appalled to be thrown from the Trinoma satellite office to Ortigas main office just because I could not show any of these: Contract of Employment, Pay Slip, or Company’s ID. Actually, every time I go home, I only carry my working pass and passport. That is sufficient enough. I don’t understand why even pay slips has to be required. How “kepo” they can get. But just to share what took place at POEA. I was extremely exasperated at the POEA main office when they claimed – I have no record from their office! It led to a heated argument because I always go home at least 2 times a year. And I always had this OEC issued by POEA. I couldn’t reconcile why I would have no record! I added to the Officer In Charge, I’ve been working and living overseas for the last 5 years! [Friends, I have no intention to put POEA in a bad light, what I am sharing here is just based on my personal account and experience with them]. What I thought would be a maximum of an hour processing of OEC was stretched to be a whole day affair! Thank goodness, I got it before 5.30pm! (There were a lot, and I mean, really a lot of unnecessary stuff that happened because they keep insisting me to produce those documents: payslip, company’s ID and contract of employment – when these are all left sleeping in Singapore! Isn’t a working pass – valid enough and proof that a person is working overseas. A truly pain in the ass.
Unsolicited Suggestion to the Philippine Embassy in Singapore
Actually, if not for the scheme – OEC Online Appointment, I would not obtain OEC at the POEA. Since, I decided to spontaneously go home, (and because I had 6 months work gap) I was NOT aware that walk-ins are NO longer entertained.
And to quote:
Please note that “walk-in application” of OEC (coming to the Embassy to apply for OEC without an appointment) has been discontinued by POLO.
The Embassy encourages OFWs in Singapore to apply ahead of one’s travel, especially long before the onset of a holiday in Singapore…
Is it possible for the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, to come up with a system or perhaps an option where getting an OEC can be done online? Processing online, paying online and obtaining online where paying by nets, Visa or Master Card are accepted? Am just thinking that if you can obtain an electronic air ticket or do the web check in – then obtaining an OEC – electronic OEC is possible. And very much doable? Or am I suggesting an impossible?
The rationale is to give OFW the flexibility and make it easier for us, so that we need not have to apply for a half-day, or worse, whole day leave (if work place is far from Nassim Rd) just to get the bloody OEC! That 1 day leave is precious enough that it can be used to add to weekends and travel somewhere nearby!
Not to mention, that working hours of the embassy has changed and ceased operating on weekend. So the more it caused a disadvantage on our part. Ma’am Minda Calaguian-Cruz, with due respect, I hope the Embassy will reconsider the effectivity of this OEC online scheme or at least offer an alternative option.
Maraming Salamat po at Mabuhay kayo!