KSA overseas Filipino workers (OFW) advocate John Leonard Monterona was surprised when he applied for an OFW ID card in iDOLE.ph website last July 14.
It showed that he has to pay P701 to claim it.
P501 is for the ID card, and another P200 for the delivery charge.
“We are asking for a clarification from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvetre Bello III about the process. Does it really have a charge or is it free? If it’s not free, we are against it,” Monterona said.
Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello, meanwhile, clarified that what Monterona saw on the website was a test run for the registration of OFWs.
“We are repeatedly saying this. I don’t know their agenda for saying that it has a charge amounting to P500 to P700.
“The activation of the website and the availability of the card including the corresponding guidelines will be announced . . . once the thorough test run of the system is completed,” said Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III.
The Secretary has also once again insisted that OFWs will not pay any amount for the ID card, as well as returning OFWs processing their documents at the POEA.
He said recruitment agencies will shoulder the cost for all the documents.
“Sila ang agents representatives ng employers because we cannot talk to the employers who is abroad and tell them you have to pay . . . because they have an agency agreement , they act on behalf of the employers,” Department of Labor and Employment USec. Ciriaco Lagunzad said.
In line with this, recruitment agencies and labor officials also held a meeting earlier to clarify the rules for the paying of the OFW ID cards.
The Coalition of Licensed Agencies Deploying Service Workers (CLADS) supports the said program, but they are having concerns on where to get funds for it.
“OFWs and recruitment practitioners initially thought this is for free, or gift. However, there is a payment that the recruitment agencies will shoulder. We still need a nationwide consultation for this,” CLADS president Lucy Sermonia said.
The DOLE wants to allay concerns of OFWs about paying for the OFW ID.
The government said it will intervene between the employers and recruitment agencies so that OFWs can get their IDs free of any charge. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue