Balita - Ako Ay Filipino

MANILA—THE OVERSEAS Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) spent the highest amount in a decade in 2010, and most of the expenditures were used for assisting repatriated overseas workers and for handing out disability and death benefits.

altDocuments obtained by the OFW Journalism Consortium  showed that the world’s largest welfare fund for migrant workers spent P78.18 million in repatriation assistance last year.

Data showed that OWWA spent most of its funds on financial assistance and repatriation assistance in 2010.

OWWA also spent its highest in a decade last year on projects under the security and protection program at P427.15 million. Apart from disability and death benefits, other services under the security and protection program are financial assistance (P8.5 million in 2010), airport assistance (P1.48 million), health care (P54.08 million), but none spent on legal assistance last year.

Meanwhile, some P284.9 million was spent in 2010 on disability and death benefits,  making up for around 17 percent of the P1.654 billion total expenditures of OWWA during the 10-year period.

Both repatriation assistance and disability and death benefits are under the OWWA sub-program on security and protection, which the agency spent some P3.25 billion over the ten-year period. On other sub-programs, the agency spent some P1.1 billion assistance on-site and skills and P782.51 million on career development during the same period.

From 2001 to 2010, some P228.45 million, or 34 percent, were spent on repatriating distressed overseas Filipino workers

The data also included OWWA’s expenditures for its health care program of P1.3 billion, but it only covered 2001 to 2006 when the agency ran a previous program called OWWA Medicare.

After 2006, funds from the old OWWA Medicare program were transferred to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) since the health insurance law mandated PhilHealth to handle health insurance programs for all Filipinos.

OWWA’s main revenues come from the US$25 paid for by each departing new-hire and re-hired overseas workers, including seafarers, on a per-contract basis. (by JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO - OFW Journalism Consortium)

MANILA - WHAT type of an agency is the Oversalteas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)?

If officials of the agency answer that OWWA is a government-owned-and-controlled corporation (GOCC), then the world’s largest welfare fund for migrant workers might have to abide by the provisions of a new law for GOCCs.

President Aquino III signed last June 5 the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 or Republic Act 10149, aimed to ensure financial viability and fiscal discipline of these GOCCs and make them responsive to public needs. President Aquino prodded the passage of this law after his 2010 State of the Nation Address where he bared allegedly overpaying salaries by officials and board members of some GOCCs.

But during a hearing on a proposed charter for OWWA at the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA), a migrant NGO thinks that OWWA officials aren’t aware of what the new law implies unto their work.

OWWA as a GOCC may have to be governed in accordance with the said law, said Ellene Sana of the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA). But there is a transitory provision of the law that may impact on OWWA’s work, Sana said in a report of the latest House hearing on OWWA.

“Under the transitory provision of the law, the direction for GOCC is towards privatization or abolition,” Sana reported.

She is referring to Section 5, item a of RA 10149, which mandated this task: “Evaluate the performance and determine the relevance of the GOCC to ascertain whether such GOCC should be re-organized, merged, streamlined, abolished or privatized, in consultation with the department or agency to which a GOCC is attached.

Item k-1 of Section 5, for its part, also tasked government to “Review the functions of each of the GOCC and, upon determination that there is a conflict between the regulatory and commercial functions of a GOCC, recommend to the President m consultation with the Government Agency to which such GOCC is attached, the privatization of the GOCCs commercial operations, or the transfer of the regulatory functions to the appropriate government agency, or such other plan of action to ensure that the commercial functions of the GOCC do not conflict with such regulatory functions”.

OWWA administrator Carmelita Dimzon, who was present during the recent House COWA meeting, was quoted by Sana as saying that OWWA “will study the GOCC act and rethink their position”.

Determining what is the precise and current nature of OWWA as a government agency is important, even if its history shows that it was once an office under the Department of Labor and Employment.

The House’ COWA hearing on OWWA sought to find out how the agency, which charges US$25 per contract to departing overseas Filipino workers, can have its own charter.

The confusion as to what OWWA is, Sana said, stems from how varied government agencies view OWWA: the Congress of the Philippines “has always classified OWWA as a national government agency,” while the Department of Budget and Management tags OWWA as “an attached agency of the DOLE”.

It is the Commission on Audit, in its annual audit reports of the various government agencies, that classifies OWWA as a GOCC. However, a July 29, 1991 opinion by the Department of Justice wrote that “OWWA was claiming it (is) not a GOCC”.

OWWA, through Letter of Instruction 573 (May 1, 1977) was initially a “Welfare and Training Fund for Overseas Workers”. On May 1, 1980, Presidential Decree 1694 formalized LOI 537 and created a “Welfare Fund for Overseas Workers” or the WelFund.

On January 31, 1987, when Executive Order 126 mandated a reorganization of DOLE, the WelFund was renamed into what is known today as OWWA.

If indeed OWWA is a GOCC, RA 10149 has required all GOCCs to be transparent and show their performances and financial reports in a website “for unrestricted public access”.

As for OWWA’s fiscal and financial performance, the 2011-2016 Philippine Labor and Employment Plan (under the item “Social protection”) mandated to “audit (OWWA) to rationalize the management of its funds, in terms of the benefits provided as well as how the funds are invested”.

 by JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO (OFW Journalism Consortium)

altAccording to news site ‘Ang OFW Ngayon’, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is now accepting nominations for the “2011 Model Overseas Filipino Worker Family of the Year Award" (MOFYA).

Nominations and documentary requirements will be accepted from July 15-September 16, 2011.

According to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, the award’s main objective is to recognize the outstanding achievements of OFWs and their families so they can serve as role models to the entire OFW community.

Last year, the top awards went to engineer Ermie Lagman Garon and family of Hacienda Luisita Tarlac (land-based category), and electrician Victor Dela Cruz and family of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (sea-based category). (source: OWWA website)


Rome - The BBFI is a non-stock, non-profit organization conceived to uphold the new heroes of our time, the overseas Filipino workers. It works hand-in-hand with the POEA and OWWA in paying tribute to the OFWs through the Bagong Bayani Awards.

altSubmission of entries has been extended up to July this year. The primary purposes of  the BBFI are the following: 1)  To promote recognition and appreciation of the role of the Filipino overseas workers in the Philippine society and economy. 2)  To foster high standards of responsibility, efficiency and integrity among Filipino workers. 3) Promote the welfare of the Filipino workers.

The Bagong Bayani Awards (BBA) is a national search for the country’s outstanding and exemplary Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).  The awards seek to recognize and pay tribute to our OFWs for their significant efforts in fostering goodwill among peoples of the world, enhancing and promoting the image of the Filipino as a competent, responsible and dignified worker, and for greatly contributing to the socio-economic development of their communities and our country as a whole.

The BBA aims at providing proper recognition to deserving nominees, thus setting up examples for others to emulate, and for the country to be proud of.

The Bagong Bayani Awards aim to: Provide a nationally established system of recognizing the significant contributions of OFWs; Recognize the extraordinary and exemplary deeds, acts, life, services and contributions of OFWs towards their employers, fellow workers, their families and communities; Honor the Filipino workers worldwide and their families for their distinct role in promoting the integrity of the Filipino workers, and in nation building.

The official nomination forms may be obtained from any of the following offices: The BBFI Secretariat Ground Floor, Blas F. Ople Bldg. POEA, Ortigas Ave. cor. EDSA, Mandaluyong City, 1501 Philippines, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) or may be downloaded from the POEA/BBFI website at

Bagong Bayani Awards brochure

Official Nomination form Bagong bayani awards




Ayon sa DFA, madali na ang pagkuha mula sa National Statistics Office (NSO) ng mga dokumento katulad ng Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Death Certificate o Certificate of No Record of Marriage (CENOMAR) kahit na ang nangangailangan ng dokumento ay naninirahan sa ibang bansa gaya ng Italya. Ang paghiling diumano ng mga nasabing dokumento ay maaari nang gawin sa pamamagitan ng pagtawag sa numero ng NSO Helpline +632-737-1111o sa internet sa website na

Ang mga dokumentong hiniling sa pamamagitan ng NSO Helpline +632-737-1111ay maaaring ipa-deliver sa inyong kamag-anak o representante sa anumang lugar sa Pilipinas sa loob ng dalawa hanggang anim na araw. Ang kabayaran ay Php315.00 bawat kopya ng Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate o Death Certificate, at Php415.00 para sa CENOMAR.  

Ang mga dokumentong hiniling sa maaaring ipahatid sa anumang lugar sa Pilipinas at sa ibang bansa din katulad ng Italya. Para sa mga dokumentong ihahatid sa ibang bansa, ang kabayaran ay US$20.00 bawat kopya ng Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate o Death Certificate at US$25.00 para sa CENOMAR. Kasama na sa mga nasabing halaga ang courier charge.  Ang mga dokumento ay maihahatid sa loob ng anim hanggang walong linggo.

Kaugnay nito, ipinapaalala ng Konsulado Panlahat ng Pilipinas sa Milano na lahat ng mga dokumentong galing sa Pilipinas at gagamitin sa Italya, katulad ng mga unang nabanggit o dokumentong galing sa eskuwela, lisensyang propesyonal, NBI Clearance, LTO Certificate, atbp. ay kailangang authenticated o may red ribbon galing sa Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas (source: DFA, Consulate of Milan)

altMANILA—ABOUT 521,253 Filipinos became naturalized citizens of eight countries part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

OECD’s 2011 International Migration Outlook bared that 386,739 Filipinos became naturalized citizens of the United States from 2000 to 2009.

As well, 109,909 Filipinos became naturalized Canadians; 8,246 became naturalized citizens of New Zealand; 2,898 became naturalized Norwegians; and 2,349 became Dutch during the same ten-year period.

From 2001 to 2008, 6,316 Filipinos became citizens of Spain while 4,152 became citizens of Korea.

And from 2005 to 2009, 644 Filipinos became citizens of Ireland.

For the year 2009, based on the number of naturalized citizens, Filipinos are the second-highest naturalized foreign nationals in Ireland (410); third-highest in the United States (38,934) and Canada (11,068); seventh-highest in New Zealand (708); eighth in Norway (445); and 13th in the Netherlands (308).

As of 2008 data, Filipinos are the ninth-highest number of naturalized foreign nationals in Spain (782) and the third highest in Korea (579).

The OECD report bares varied regulations how foreigners can acquire nationality, including how long the process takes. (by JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO - OFW Journalism Consortium)

On Tuesday, Japan upgraded its nuclear emergency to alert level 7 as workers in the plant try to control overheating reactors. The accident is now at par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, which also reached the highest alert level.

Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano has already expressed concern about radiation “hot spots” even outside the 20 kilometer exclusion zone. 

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manolo Lopez said there are about 1,000 Filipinos within the 50 kilometer radius. In tandem with the Philippine government, the embassy is ready to evacuate those in the said area.

Some of the Filipinos have already established their lives there, by marrying Japanese nationalities, he explained. He expects, however, not all may decide to evacuate.



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