If you must know, our government in Pinas requires all Overseas Filipino Workers who go on leave and/or vacation from their work site abroad to secure Overseas Exit Clearance (OEC) from Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and pay applicable fees to Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) before they can be allowed to leave our terminals and report back to work abroad. The total fees for that OEC amount to PhP 2084.18 (POEA processing fee of PhP 100, OWWA membership PhP 1084.18 and PHILHEALTH PhP 900; I and my colleagues paid everything despite we have PHILHEALTH membership from our previous employers).
THE EXPERIENCE OF AN OEC FIRST TIME APPLICANT. After I left the country to be a Medical Lecturer in a University-College in Penang, Malaysia in 29 July 2010, I was very excited to come home (with my wife and kid as they spent 2-week-break in Penang prior to Xmas) to Pinas and spend a week-long days off.
Having briefed by fellow Filipino MDs who have gone home several times, of what to do and how to secure OEC, I thought I knew what to expect. Still, I was astonished by the volume of OFWs who trooped to POEA that same day as I applied for my OEC.
I arrived at POEA at 6:58AM on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 and the security guard handed my OEC application form number 302. At that early, there were already 301 OFWs who came before me; amazing! Apparently, because most Filipinos of course would prefer to celebrate Christmas and New Year holidays at home.
So I queued and when permitted to enter the waiting area inside, I saw the crowd. Nabanggit ko sa sarili ko, “Ang dami nga pala talagang nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa at kabilang na ako doon!” (I realized that there are a lot of Filipinos working abroad and that includes me already!).
In fairness to POEA officials, the process was organized that day, however they have to make room for more improvements particularly on the attitude of few of them.
An old lady (perhaps on her late 50s) officer at the Evaluation window yelled several times to first few OEC applicants. Goodness gracious, aren’t she aware that we’re the so-called Bagong Bayani? that we’re contributing to the economy of our country as dollar-earners? that our taxes pay their salaries?
To consider that it was early morning, being reprimanded on top of her voice can really ruin your whole day. And so I prepared my counter statement should I’d be yelled at too. hehehe Hindi uubra sa akin yun! But thank God she smiled at me when I approached her window as my number was called after 2 and a half hours of waiting!
I hate to think that my profession made her tone down a bit because I believe they should render their service equally to the public, regardless whether you’re a domestic helper, seaman, doctor, lecturer abroad.
I completed the process of securing OEC (evaluation, assessment, payment) in 2 and a half hours. I saw my colleagues from Penang who came in late that morning still waiting for their numbers to be called outside the building. FYI, they finished at around 4PM. Imagine, they were there almost the whole day! As one of them put it, “Isang araw na dapat kasama ang pamilya na minsan lang makita, kukunin pa nila!”
I appeal to those public officials serving not only OFWs but kapwa-Pinoys in general to kindly render their work with a smile. It definitely helps when you perform with friendliness, efficiency, accuracy and speed.
The same goes to those who are in the Immigration counters, pakibilisan lang po ang serbisyo lalo na sa mga Pinoy na pagod galing sa biyahe.
yun lang po.