OWWA or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is under the Department of Labor and Employment. It is mandated to promote and protect the well-being and welfare of the OFWs and their dependents. Likewise, OWWA is also tasked to ensure fund viability and capital build-up for the OFWs.
There are about 31 posts in 27 countries and regional offices in seventeen regions.
How does OWWA works?
The main function of OWWA is to ensure the welfare of the OFWs and their dependents that’s why the agency is always involve in all phase of migration such as pre-departure, upon arrival, and on-site. It is also the responsibility of OWWA to educate first-time workers everything about working in foreign countries.
Likewise, they also assist OFWs who encounter problems with their foreign employers and they are also ready to reintegrate OFWs upon returning to the country through livelihood programs and trainings. OWWA also offer on-site services including conciliation services, psycho-social counselling, outreach missions, legal assistance, and trainings.
How is the agency managed and funded?
The Board of Trustees administered OWWA through the Secretariat and is headed by the Deputy Administrator. The agency obtains its fund from the US$25 foreign employers membership contributions, interest income and investment, and from other sources.
How to become an OWWA member?
An OFW can enroll for OWWA membership upon processing the contract at the POEA. OFWs can also register voluntarily at job sites overseas. After paying the membership contribution, the OFW will automatically become member until the employment contract expires. The membership is valid for two years and should be renewed.
What are the benefits?
Being a member of OWWA, an OFW can avail dismemberment and disability benefit, death benefit, and burial benefit.
The agency also offers educational programs for the member and designated beneficiary, but subject to accreditation and selection process of the participating institutions. Educational programs include the following:
- Education for development scholarship program
- OFW dependents scholarship program
- Skills-for-employment scholarship program
- Seafarer’s upgrading program
- Education and livelihood assistance program
The repatriation program of OWWA enables distressed workers to go back to the Philippines. The agency will shoulder the airport assistance, temporary shelter and the expenses going back to the provinces. On the other hand, the reintegration program covers the psycho-social and economic components.