September 21, 2017, 8:12 pm
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i-DOLE for OFWs

THE labor sector has many problems, which the Department of Labor and Employment tries hard to solve. Some of these are old and complex challenges, such as the demand by workers for better compensation which should be balanced with the
equally compelling desire of employers to rein in wages and increase profitability.

It is good that under Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the DOLE is coping with many of these problems, including those of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Lately, Bello announced the forthcoming smooth repatriation of some 2,500 workers from Saudi Arabia who had been found to be illegals or without valid contracts. The government will shoulder their trip home, and provide help so that their skills would find them employment locally. Even financial assistance to tide them over the hard times before they can land new jobs would be provided.

It is worth mentioning that doable reforms in the labor exporting sector are being addressed presently. One such move is the launching of the i-DOLE or identification card for OFWs, set on July 12.

Filipinos working abroad had to secure their overseas employment certificates (OECs) from the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in their host countries whenever they return to the Philippines for a vacation. They again fall in line to get this document on their return to their jobs abroad.

It would not be so much trouble for our OFWs to do this if not for the long queues in these offices. Now with the i-DOLE ID cards, they need not get these certificates. They can easily show these cards at the airport terminals to validate their status and
avail themselves of free terminal fees. The cards will be mailed to their home addresses, Bello said.

This ID system is so convenient and simple that we wonder why other DOLE administrations did not think of this, or having thought of it, did not have the good sense to implement it right away.

Migrant workers have campaigned for years for the abolition of the OECs. Now under President Rodrigo Duterte and Secretary Bello, they finally got their wish.

For sure, other departments especially those with direct dealings with the public can see and appreciate reforms in their systems of public service delivery, many of which emanate from their clientele themselves.

It is worthwhile to evaluate these suggestions. Who knows, the government might save money from streamlining the procedures and the people might get the fast and efficient service that they, as taxpayers, truly deserve.
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