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OEC outlets opened at Worldwide, Admiralty

31 March 2016

Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre and POLO staff at an OEC mobile site at the World-Wide House. 

By Vir B. Lumicao

Off-site processing of the overseas employment certificate or OEC was held at two busy hubs on Mar 27, a Sunday, for those trying to secure the all-important document during the long Easter break.
One of the OEC desks was set up on ground floor pedestrian walkway in Worldwide House in Central, while the second was at the Metrobank branch in United Centre in Admiralty.
The Worldwide desk was set up in cooperation with PLDT-Smart, which held an Easter event at the site.
Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre made the arrangements as part of his bid to shorten the queues for the travel clearance at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Admiralty Centre.
De la Torre said he was worried some Filipino workers would need to go home urgently during the Easter break, when both the Consulate and POLO were closed for four straight days, from Thursday, March 24 to Monday, March 28.
De la Torre said he was hoping to secure a permanent space in Smart’s office at Worldwide where applications for the OEC from those who are not in a hurry to go home can be filed.
“I-accept lang nila yung information sheet at yung payment and then dadalhin sa amin, iisyuhan namin ng OR sa OEC, ibabalik sa kanila and then yung worker babalik sa amin a few days later, yung mga hindi nagmamadali,” he added.
De la Torre said he might adopt the same arrangement for Metrobank’s branches across Hong Kong, while the bank is securing accreditation to accept OEC payments here.
In the Philippines, Metrobank is already authorized to receive OEC payments in all its branches, he said.
Currently, only i-Remit is accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to accept OEC payments in Hong Kong.
But POLO still has to resolve one issue with i-Remit: the company’s insistence that applicants print out their emailed confirmation reference number before it would accept payments.
The new labatt said he planned to bring up the matter with iRemit and point out that the trend now is paperless transactions.
He also said the POEA is now working on an app for androids that will allow domestic workers to just use their cell phones in applying for the travel clearance.
Apart from these measures, de la Torre is planning to move back the OEC issuance on Sundays to the Bayanihan Centre to put an end to the long queues at POLO during the peak travel season.
On a drizzly morning on Mar 20, more than 1,000 workers had already formed three long lines on the Admiralty Centre footbridge waiting for their turn to go up to the POLO offices for their OEC.
“Kaninang alas-otso pa ako nakapila rito,” said one woman who before 10:30am had already filled up an application form stamped with a 12 noon-1pm appointment.
A POLO staff said he began giving out the forms at 8am and estimated that he had distributed about 1,300 by that time. He said the lines remained long because those who had obtained their forms were reluctant to leave the queue.
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