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OEC summer crowd builds up in Admiralty

13 July 2016

by Vir B. Lumicao

Queues for the overseas employment certificate are again getting longer in Admiralty as thousands of OFWs are set to go home to take advantage of their employers going abroad for their summer break.
About 1,400 applicants queued up at three OEC issuance sites in Admiralty and Central on July 3, and the number peaked to 2,000 in the next weekend.
To manage the crowd better on July 9, some of the OEC applicants were diverted to the 11th floor POLO office. Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre personally led his staff in attending to the crowd. The same arrangement was carried out the next day, a Sunday.
The number is expected to continue to rise until next month, when more employers go away for vacation.
The spike in demand prompted Labatt de la Torre to urge applicants to secure the all-important document at satellite distribution centers.
“Because of building security restrictions at Admiralty Centre, we are urging our OFWs needing OECs to go to Metrobank branch at the United Centre 2nd floor or at PNB Remittance Center in Worldwide House, Central,” De la Torre said in a post on his Facebook page 
Hong Kong schools started their summer break on July 12, although those with the English Schools Foundation closed as early as June 24 
Assistant Labor Attache Henry Tianero said a large crowd of about 700 also lined up on Tuesday, July 5, prompting POLO to limit the number of applicants on the 16th floor to 100 at a time 
“We asked the excess people to go down to the footbridge and wait for their turn to come up so that there would be no overcrowding on the 16th floor,” he said. 
He explained that the police do not want overcrowding in the 16th floor offices.
Most of the applicants on July 3 were scheduled to go home for a vacation on June 20, said Tianero.
The lines were longer on the Admiralty footbridge as both OEC applicants and workers renewing contracts or had other transactions at POLO competed for space with other OFWs gathered there for their Sunday rest, as well as "Pakistani vendors.
A woman who was 200th on the queue had her 5-year-old male ward in tow.
"Nagpaalam lang ako sa amo ko kasi hindi ko day off ngayon,” she said, adding that she joined the line at around 10am.  
Further down the line, The SUN asked three female workers why they didn’t apply online for the OEC online, to which they replied, “Ano iyon?”
The online application is being pushed by POLO to further disperse the crowd on the footbridge, with not much success.
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