OWWA Membership is compulsory for all Overseas Filipino Workers – OFWs who have a plan to work abroad. It is a welfare program to provide relevant information for Filipino workers abroad.
This pandemic has brought a multitude of uncertainties to our unsung heroes – our dear Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Well, we cannot blame the different media outlets for choosing to focus more on our medical front liners but our OFWs also deserve some attention as they are also in the frontline. In fact, in some countries, they are being looked up to for their inimitable efforts in serving those who had contracted COVID-19.
Fortunately, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), being the government’s prime agency for Filipinos working abroad, continues to be prompt in providing assistance to its member-OFWs on and off-cam. In fact, OWWA took pride in its concerted actions, along with various local government units (LGUs), in facilitating the return of our OFWs amidst the pandemic. Through the earnest efforts of OWWA, OFWs across the globe are not left behind in this time of pandemic.
Being an OFW is indeed a big challenge. It requires making sacrifices in exchange for a greener pasture. Further, it also brings out bravery and resourcefulness in OFWs as they bear to live singly in an unfamiliar place away from their loved ones. This is where OWWA comes into the picture through looking after the welfare of our OFWs as they work for their families back in the Philippines. Moreover, OWWA also offers a wide array of programs and services exclusively for its members. Thus, it really pays to become OWWA members to avail of these programs and services.
Two modes of OWWA membership
There are two modes of OWWA membership. First is through enrollment upon processing of the contract at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) office. This is compulsory for OFWs prior to going to their respective destination countries. In this way, the government is assured that all OFWs abroad are secured and that their welfare is being looked after by the organization wherever they may be in.
Second, overseas Filipinos may become an OWWA through filing an application with the OWWA’s On-Site Membership Program provided that they belong to any of the following classifications:
OFWs of legal age. First-time applicants must be gainfully employed abroad at the time of the registration / application;
OFWs whose OWWA membership had already expired;
OFWs who have acquired regular or permanent residency status in the country where they work yet their citizenship is still Filipino; or
OFWs who did not have proper documentation from the POEA upon departure but have obtained gainful employment in the foreign country.
On top of the above qualifications for voluntary membership, overseas Filipinos who wish to apply for OWWA membership must submit all the following documentary requirements, namely:
Duly accomplished OWWA OSMP Information Sheet;
Proof of employment; and
Copy of passport showing photo and personal data.
Processing of the membership
Either compulsory or voluntary membership, OFWs have to pay US $ 25 for the processing of the membership. The money obtained therefrom will be accrued to the OFW Fund which the government can use solely for the OFWs when necessity arises. Moreover, the membership is valid only for two (2) years and subject for renewal.
Thus, the government really encourages OFWs to apply for OWWA membership.