Shorter airport procedures for OFW-repatriates sought

Posted at 06/25/14 3:57 PM

MANILA - Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz wants a more simplified procedure that would enable repatriated OFWs to spend less time at the airport upon their arrival.

"We need to simplify more some of the processes to shorten the time of OFWs' stay at the airport for them to go home to their families," Baldoz said.

Baldoz sat down with Undersecretary Reydeluz Conferido , administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), newly appointed chief of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Rebecca Calzado and National Reintegration Center for OFWs Director Violeta Munoz, on how to accomplish the goal.

OWWA's Repatriation Assistance Division (RAD) head, Yolanda Penaranda, walked the group through the process at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

"We need to know and experience for ourselves the engagement of the OWWA with our OFW-repatriates upon their arrival in the Philippines so that we can understand not only the process, but also to recommend improvements in our services delivery," Baldoz said.

Baldoz asked for the briefing and walk-through before the arrival of 67 OFW repatriates from Libya on board EK 332.

According to Penaranda, airport assistance process begins from the time the RAD receives from the post or Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, a notice of the arrival of the OFWs.

The second step entails OWWA requesting airport authorities for passes for the assistance and support teams to enter the arrival area.

Step three is the identification of the repatriated OFWs near the tube where passengers disembark. "There is usually an advance copy of the list of the repatriates and we display a placard for them to identify that we are there for the meet-and-greet courtesies," Penaranda said.

Step four involves the immigration procedure where OFWs are gathered in a designated place and their passports and disembarkation cards are collected for an immigration officer to stamp.

While waiting for the Immigration official, RAD personnel ask the repatriates to fill-up a profile form containing basic information and other important data about the OFWs. They also ask them if their final destination is in the provinces, or if someone is fetching them from the airport, or if they would like to stay at the OWWA Halfway Home on F.B. Harrison.
"The OWWA provides transportation from the airport to the nearest bus station, the OWWA Halfway Home, and within Metro Manila. If the OFWs are from the province, we provide them transportation money," Penaranda said.

The OWWA, she said, also provides medical and psycho-social care to OFWs who may need one, and legal assistance to those with money claims.