With billions of remittances they send every year, it’s no wonder Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are often referred to as the pillars of our country’s economy. The government recognizes that, and in fact they have put up an organization that sees to our countrymen’s welfare: the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
OWWA is a government agency that works with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to protect the interests, well-being, and comfort of many overseas Filipino workers.
OWWA provides a wide variety of benefits, such as education, health, insurance, and livelihood programs to all OFWs. All Filipino migrant workers are entitled to these OWWA benefits, regardless if they are land-based or sea-based.
Here’s a list of OWWA members benefits that an OFW can enjoy.
Financial Assistance: OWWA Loan
Apart from applying for a loan through private lending companies and financial institutions, overseas workers can also get financial assistance from OWWA through a OWWA loan.
The OWWA loan is a personal loan that provides financial help for OFWs with their financial needs, whether it is for a vacation, business opportunities, or emergency expenses.
To be eligible for the loan, an OFW must have a valid contract and be a bona fide member of OWWA.
Under this are disability and dismemberment benefits and death benefits. These assistances are provided to OFWs within the duration of their contract.
Disability and Dismemberment Benefits
Disability and dismemberment benefits refer to the cash benefit that an OFW can get if he/she gets injured due to an accident while working abroad.
The cash benefit is up to P100,000. OFWs must present a foreign medical certificate, a medical certificate issued by a local physician, and an accident report (for sea-based OFW) to claim the cash benefit.
Death Benefits refer to the cash benefit given to the family of an active OFW in case of the latter’s demise. The family is entitled to a P100,000 cash benefit if the cause of death is natural, and P200,000 if death is due to an accident. Furthermore, an additional assistance of P20,000 will be received by the beneficiaries allotted for the final expenses.
An original death certificate, accident report (if death is due to an accident), burial permit, and two (2) valid IDs of the claimant are some of the requirements when claiming the benefit.
Seminar and Training
Country Specific Pre-Departure Education Program (PDOS)
Pre-departure Education Program or PDOS is a one-day seminar provided to OFWs to help them adapt to the culture and work environment of the country they’re employed in.
Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP)
Seafarer’s Upgrading Program, or SUP, is an OWWA training for a seafarer to enhance their skills and develop the expertise to meet the requirements of global marine standards and technological advancements.
An OFW can select a training course accredited by Marine Industry Authority (MARINA) or Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). A financial assistance worth P7,500 will also be provided for the OFWs in their chosen course.
OFW Dependent Benefits
There are OWWA benefits for OFW dependents as well. Here are some OWWA scholarship programs that OFWs’ beneficiaries can get.
Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)
This scholarship program is provided to all qualified dependents or beneficiaries of an active OWWA member who wish to enroll to a four- or five-year bachelor’s degree in any college or university. This benefit comes in the form of financial assistance. The amount provided will be a maximum of P60,000 per school year.
Skills for Employment Scholarship Program
This training assistance is provided to all qualified beneficiaries of an active OWWA member who want to pursue a technical or vocational course in any institution accredited by TESDA. The OWWA will grant a financial assistance worth P14,500 to eligible dependents.
Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP)
This scholarship is given to deserving beneficiaries of an active OWWA member who wish to take courses in the Science and Technology fields. The financial assistance will be P60,000 per year. Deserving OFWs can avail of the program as well.
Welfare Assistance Program
OWWA also provides welfare assistance services, such as on-site support and in-country assistance. This may include airport assistance, psycho-social counseling, transportation allowance to their allowance, and stress debriefing, among others.
Social Services and Family Welfare Services
Repatriation Assistance Program
The Repatriation Assistance Program is available for all OFWs who seek support when returning to the Philippines in case of an emergency or distress situation in their host country. This benefit may include domestic transport, temporary shelter, and social counseling.
The Reintegration Program is created for OFWs who have ended their contract abroad and do not want to go back. This benefit provides livelihood opportunities to Filipinos who want to start a venture or expand their business in the country.