There are several agencies Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can go to in order to seek help, guidance, and advice. Aside from POEA, DOLE, and POLO, there is one agency that is known by the OFWs called OWWA or Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. In this post, we share more details about the functions, responsibilities, and programs being offered by OWWA.
It is an agency that focuses on the welfare of all Filipino workers who work abroad. This agency is very much involved with their family members by providing financial aid or assistance. Some of their programs include helping OFWs’ family members seek opportunities to study and receive an education.
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What is OWWA?
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was established in May 1, 1997. It is a government agency extension of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
OWWA serves as an insurance policy for Filipinos working abroad. This agency provides the “advancement of welfare services to overseas Filipinos.” This is done through their programs and other initiatives.
These services include providing financial aid, educational opportunities, medical or health benefits, legal support to its members. However, a member does not have to be an OFW to avail of these benefits. Family members can benefit from OWWA as well.
An individual only needs to make affiliation with OWWA in order for them to receive free services from this agency. In addition, they can help protect workers who are subjected to unfair labor practices abroad by filing cases against their employers if needed.
Who is OWWA Department for?
OWWA department is for all the OFWs who are active members of OWWA. Inactive members who are OFWs might still be able to avail some benefits, but it might be a partial benefit compared to those who are full-on members.
The membership costs only USD 25 and it is valid every 2 years. So if you plan to work abroad, please include this as part of your basic expenses.
Benefits of OWWA for Filipinos
All OFWs that are members of OWWA can avail of OWWA’s program and services such as social benefits, education and training benefits, welfare benefits, reintegration program, and repatriation assistance services.
That is why it is very important for every OFW to become a member of OWWA to avail the full programs and benefits available to them. During times of crisis, you will be able to get the benefits allotted for each member.
Goals of OWWA
The goals of OWWA are the following.
- Protects the interests of Overseas Filipino Workers and their families
- Providing social security
- Cultural services and help with employment
- Legal matters
List of Programs and Services of OWWA
These are the programs and services offered by OWWA to OFWs.
These are the benefits that can be claimed if an OFW experienced natural calamities, accidents, death, and sickness.
1. Disability and Dismemberment Benefit
An OWWA member can get a benefit of up to 100,000 pesos if he/she becomes disabled or dismembered.
2. Death and Burial Benefits
A benefit of 100,000 pesos will be given if an OFW dies of natural cause and 200,000 pesos if he/she dies due to an accident.
A benefit of 20,000 pesos will also be given to the bereaved family.
3. Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs
OFWs that are active members of OWWA and PhilHealth will be eligible for up to 50,000 pesos in relief if a member becomes ill and is hospitalized.
4. Welfare Assistance Program (WAP)
This is open for all active and non-active OWWA members who cannot avail of the Social Benefits.
Education and Training Benefits
Education and Training availed from government agencies for OFWs (POEA, OWWA, POLO, CFO) serves as a guide for OFWs on preparing for deployment, equipping them with knowledge and skills of their work, and assistance for their dependents.
1. Pre-Departure Education Program
These are the seminars you need to attend before going to your host country. Some of them include:
- Country-Specific Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS – Skilled workers are required to attend this one-day orientation for OFWs.
- Pre-Departure Education Program (CPDEP) – Domestic workers (Household workers) are required to attend this four to six-day orientation.
2. Training Programs for Filipino Seafarers
These are the OWWA programs that are available for seafarers.
- Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP) – A scholarship grant of 7,500 pesos is available for seafarers to upgrade and update their skills and knowledge.
- Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program – A scholarship grant for seafarers that are graduates of Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering who want to pursue Marine Engineering.
3. Scholarships for OFW Dependents
Here are some of the financial assistance for education scholarships that can be availed by the OFW’s dependents:
- Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) – A scholarship grant worth 60,000 pesos each year will be given to the OFW’s dependents who will be enrolling in a university.
- OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP) – An educational assistance of 20,000 pesos each year will be given to the OFW’s dependents. This educational assistance is for those OFWs whose salary is not more than 600.00 US dollars.
- Educational Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) – This scholarship grant is for the dependents of the deceased OFW.
- Project EASE – set up for OFWs affected during the pandemic, this provides an educational assistance of 10,000 pesos each year for four years to OFW dependents.
- Tabang OFW – another pandemic scholarship project, this is an educational assistance of 30,000 pesos that will be given to the dependents once.
These welfare programs ensure the protection and assistance from economic risks and insecurities of life.
1. On-Site Assistance and Services for OFWs at their Job Sites
These on-Site services include:
- Assistance on OFW’s whereabouts
- Psycho-social counseling
- Mediation/conciliation with the employer
- Airport assistance
- Hospital/prison/work camp visitations
- Legal assistance to OFWs who wish to pursue labor/welfare case against their employer in the host country
2. In-Country Assistance for OFWs and Families at the Home Front
- Assistance extended to OFWs/families here at the homefront – Requests from families and next-of-kins (NOKs) for assistance from OWWA overseas posts
- Post-repatriation assistance
- –Temporary shelter at OWWA Halfway House
- –Transportation allowance to their provinces
- –Stress Debriefing/ Counseling
Reintegration is a method of integrating returned OFWs into Philippine society.
1. Reintegration Preparedness (On-Site)
2. Reintegration (In-Country) – OFWs who have completed their contracts and do not want to return to work in another country are given opportunities to earn a living. Reintegration programs, on the other hand, are also available to distressed OFWs who want to earn money for their families through self-employment or a livelihood project when their foreign job ends.
3. Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program (BPBHP) – A livelihood assistance of 10,000 pesos will be given to OFWs who are displaced from their jobs due to distressing situations.
4. Overseas Filipino Workers – Enterprise Development Loan Program (OFW-EDLP) – OFWs can get a loan through this program which is partnered with Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
5. Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-Unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong PUSO) – This is a one-time livelihood assistance of 1,000,000 pesos worth of materials and equipment for organizations of OFWs with more than 51 members.
Repatriation Assistance Benefits
The goal of the Repatriation Assistance Program is to assist in the return of displaced persons and human remains. In the event of political unrest or natural disasters, an emergency repatriation is carried out. The following services are provided to the workers. These are the repatriation assistance.
- Airport Assistance
- Temporary Shelter at the OWWA Halfway Home
- Psychosocial Counselling
- Stress Debriefing
- Transport Services to their respective Provinces
OWWA Online Services via Mobile App
OWWA has a website that can be accessed with the use of smartphones and the internet. The official site is – http://www.owwa.gov.ph/
The OWWA mobile app can also be downloaded from Google Playstore or click this link to redirect you to Google playstore: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.owwa
Here are the online services offered by OWWA in the mobile app and website portals:
1. Appointment Scheduler
To go to any POLO-OWWA office, you need to schedule an appointment online through this link: https://appointment.owwa.gov.ph/ .
2. OFW Assistance Information System (OASIS)
OASIS is an online service that aids in the smooth and orderly repatriation of the large number of OFWs who have returned to the Philippines as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is the link of the service: https://oasis.owwa.gov.ph/ .
3. OFW e-CARD Application
The OFW e-CARD will be the official ID of an OFW which includes their own permanent OFW ID number. OFWs can now easily access OWWA’s Welfare Services, Scholarships, Training Programs, and Social Benefits by using the OFW e-Card. Apply for OFW e-CARD through this link: https://ecard.owwa.gov.ph/ .
4. OFW e-CARD Tracker
This tracks the e-Card’s status of delivery. To track the status of your e-CARD, click this link to proceed: https://ecardtracker.owwa.gov.ph/ .
5. OWWA Rebate Portal
The OWWA rebate is a program that rewards OFWs who have been active members for at least ten years with a rebate or a percentage of their contributions. To check your rebates, click this link to continue: http://rebate.owwa.gov.ph/ .
Frequently Asked Questions
Check out the following FAQs for more information about the OWWA department.
1. How do I get cash assistance from OWWA via DOLE-AKAP?
Here are the steps to follow to get cash assistance from OWWA.
- Click this link (https://dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph ) and log in.
- Fill out the online form and attach/submit the necessary documents.
- Obtain the One-Time-Pin (OTP) that will be used to keep track of the application’s progress.
- RWO will analyze and evaluate the application within 24 hours of receiving it if the requirements are full and in order. If any of the requirements are not met, RWO will send an official notification to the applicant’s e-mail address.
- The RWOs will automatically save all approved/evaluated applications into the Beneficiary Availability Program (BAP) system.
- Within 2-3 days following the review and evaluation, the DOLE-OWWA AKAP online application system will send an e-mail or SMS notification of approval or disapproval.
- The recipients will be notified of the release through e-mail or SMS using the DOLE-AKAP Online System.
2. How can I check my OWWA status online?
Here are the steps to check my OWWA status online.
- Download and Install the OWWA mobile app.
- Register or Log in to your account.
- View the status of your OWWA membership.
3. How do I log in to my OWWA account?
- Enter the username and password you were given when you created your account to log in.
4. How to become an OWWA?
Here are the steps to renew your OWWA membership.
- Fill up the OWWA/OFW Information Sheet form.
- Scan the completed OWWA/OFW Information Sheet along with your valid Philippine passport data page, residence/work permit, and proof of employment.
- If your are a dual citizen, submit a scanned copy of your Certificate of Oath. Make sure that the scanned copy is clear.
- Visit the OWWA website of your host country.
- Find the email address in the website and send your requests.
- Your requirements will be assessed, and you will receive an email with instructions on how to proceed with the payment or if there are any additional instructions. Please note that you will not be able to pay the Php 1,000 to Php 1,500 OWWA membership fee unless you receive notification from OWWA.
- You will receive an email that contains the instructions on how to pay for the membership.
- Pay the fee using one of the available mode of payment.
- Membership will be activated which is valid for two years.
5. How do I renew my OWWA?
Install the OWWA mobile app on your phone, register your personal and employment information and renew it at your own convenience.
Here are the links to download the OWWA app:
- Google Playstore for Android Users, visit this link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.owwa&hl=en&gl=US
- App Store for Apple Users, visit this link https://apps.apple.com/us/app/owwaapp/id1437249504
6. How can I download OWWA form?
Click this link to download the OWWA form: https://owwa.gov.ph/images/downloads/OWWA-OFW-INFORMATION-SHEET.pdf.
7. Why my OWWA is inactive?
The membership is valid for only years. Your membership becomes inactive if two years have passed or if you have changed to another employer.
8. How much should I pay in OWWA?
The membership fee is 25.00 U.S. dollars.
9. How can I get OWWA appointment?
- Click this link to book an appointment: https://appointment.owwa.gov.ph/ .
- Select a service you want to avail yourself.
- Choose a date from the calendar. Make sure you selected the day that you are free.
- Fill up the blanks with the necessary information.
- Take a screenshot of the page to have a proof or reservation which will serve as a confirmation.
- Submit the form.
10. How to check the status of my OWWA Membership Online?
- Download and Install OWWA Mobile App
- Register / Log in to Your Account.
- View the Status of your OWWA Membership
So these are the programs and services you can expect from OWWA. Remember that as an OFW, you should keep you OWWA membership active in order to avail the services that this agency provides.
If your OWWA membership is inactive, renew it right away by creating a new account and following the steps mentioned in this article. In case, you have further questions regarding how to renew your membership or anything else about OWWA, feel free to contact them through the contact numbers found on their website.
For your concerns, contact these numbers.
Metro Manila: 1348
Regional: (02) 1348
International: (+632) 1348
OWWA Central OfficeAddress: F.B. Harrison St, Pasay, Metro Manila
Telephone number: 8891-7601 to 24