The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) is a government agency mandated to provide assistance and protection to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families. It also oversees the welfare of migrant workers in foreign countries. This office offers various programs and services. Please check out more details on its function, responsibilities, and programs for OFWs.
POLO agency was established for the benefit of the OFWs and to ensure their protection. Aside from this, POLO also serves as the main agency that oversees the welfare of OFWs in foreign countries. That is why if you are a Filipino working abroad, and you have questions or concerns about your employment status, it is good to visit the POLO office for assistance.
Whether your employer not treating you properly, a case has been filed against you by your company, or you just made a complaint about the salary you are receiving, POLO has the authority to intervene in your case. This agency will help you by negotiating with your employer and protecting you from further abuse or harassment. Moreover, for those who want to return home but there is some contract or it is unpaid leave, they can also apply for assistance so they will be facilitated and protected from possible harm.
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What is POLO Labor Office?
Philippine Overseas Labor and Office (POLO) is a branch of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) abroad that deals with implementing the Philippine labor laws to protect the rights and promote the welfare and interests of Filipinos overseas.
So, OFW who wants to apply for assistance, such as repatriation and rescue, should consider the POLO office as your first option or resource center. There are also other programs and services offered by this agency for OFWs’ safety and security.
Who is the POLO office intended for?
POLO is open for all Filipinos working and living abroad. This is where Filipino migrants can get proper and adequate protection and assistance whenever they need it. The rights of OFWs such as salary, travel documents, insurance (OFW ID), seafarers, documentation should be backed up by the POLO office.
By visiting this office or calling its hotline numbers, you will be assisted in case your employer is not treating you well or any complaints for your employment contract. The POLO office can assist you in case a case has been filed against you by your company, and there are also concerns about unpaid salary.
What is the role of the POLO office?
The main functions of this agency are to safeguard Filipino migrant workers’ rights and welfare through negotiation with foreign employers and host governments and facilitate the employment of qualified Filipino workers.
It also regulates and promotes the welfare of OFWs by providing specific programs and services such as repatriation and rescue operations, social services (legal, medical, and others); verification of employment contracts; assessment of living conditions of OFWs; issuance of travel documents; registration as seafarers; promotion of OFW products and services; and development of OFWs.
How can the POLO office assist me?
Contacting this agency is one way of being assisted by its staff, but it does not mean that you will immediately receive all the benefits from them. This government agency has a set of rules and policies that they have to follow before you receive the services that you want. If ever they are not able to attend to your issue, they will refer it to another government agency that can handle your concern better.
Benefits of POLO for Filipinos
The benefits gained and will be gained by OFWs from POLO are the following:
- Compulsory Insurance
- Free Training Programs
- Financial Assistance
List of Services of the POLO Office
These are the services offered by POLO:
- Making sure that OFWs’ rights are protected as well as the promotion of the OFWs’ welfare and interests. Aid OFWs on problems about their employment.
- Promotion and implementation of POLO’s employment program abroad, in line with the overall policy of the government.
- Verifying employment contracts and employment-related documents.
- Monitoring and reporting to Home Office the conditions and policy changes in the country that can impact the OFWs and the Philippine labor laws.
- Supervising and coordinating the operations of the Migrant Workers And Overseas Filipinos Resource Center (MWOFRC).
- Philippine government, host country, Filipino communities and other entities are pursuing organizing a need-based community development and relations program and engage in socio-cultural activities.
- Execute other functions through the lead of the Secretary of Labor and Employment.
List of Programs of POLO Offices
Here is a list of programs of POLO in partnership with DOLE, OWWA, and POEA.
1. Labor Market Development and Management
2. Reintegration Preparedness
Reintegration preparedness includes financial, literacy, entrepreneurial, development training, business counseling, skills training, and value formation.
3. Community Outreach
- Leaders’ Forum
- Socio-cultural Activities
- Institutional Events
4. Workers’ Information and Education
- Post-arrival Orientation Seminar (PAOS) – this seminar includes a guide for passport renewal, managing the employer-employee relationships, and promotion of freedom of association. PAOS can be done online that after the OFW has finished the course, an online certificate will be provided.
- Labor Education
- Immigration Laws and Procedures
5. OEC Issuance
An OFW on vacation or on leave but will return to the same employer may obtain an OEC at POLO. It has 60 days validity from the issuance date.
6. Employment Verification
- Verification of documents – is a procedure being conducted to ensure that am OFW’s rights, benefits, and welfare is being protected
- Watchlisting/ blacklisting of employers, foreign placement agencies and Philippine recruitment agencies
7. Case Management
8. OWWA membership
OWWA membership is valid for 2 years from the date of registration. An OFW can avail of benefits and services if he/she is an OWWA member.
These are the benefits included when you are a member of OWWA.
- Welfare Assistance
- Hospital Visitation
- Jail Visitation
- Work Campsite visitation
- Psycho-social counseling
- Other assistance
9. Repatriation Assistance
Repatriation is sending someone to their home country or in other terms, deportation. Physically and mentally ill OFWs will be repatriated.
10. Custodial Program
11. Policy Advocacy and Labor Cooperation
Philippine Overseas Labor and Office(POLO) does its part of protecting and serving the OFWs by implementing the labor code of the Philippines overseas. Through POLO’s programs and services, they served their purpose of serving our “modern-day heroes”.
As an OFW abroad, it is good to know about your rights to avoid illegal charges. It is also good to know that agencies are there for you when you need assistance or if you have complaints about your employer.
There are cases where OFWs face abuse due to the lack of awareness of what their rights are during employment abroad. Thus, this article serves as a guide for everyone about what the Philippine Overseas Labor Office stands for and what they do for OFWs.