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7 Benefits of Being a Registered OWWA Member

By Jonathan Ong
January 8, 2016


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is a government agency that works closely with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The OWWA is tasked to protect and see through the welfare and well-being of the Overseas Filipino Workers or OFW. It is a membership institution which programs and projects geared towards the interest of its members. The USD 25-membership contribution entitles an OWWA member to benefit plans which are accorded in a membership contract. These include insurance, healthcare benefits, an education and training program, livelihood support bridging program, and a livelihood development program.

Prior to work in abroad, an OFW can obtain an OWWA membership either through enrollment upon processing of his or her contract at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or by voluntary registration at job overseas websites.

Advantages of being a Registered OWWA member

Take note that the list of OWWA members are maintained by the OWWA and POEA via a database that is updated on a regular basis. Members are issued an official receipt and an OWWA e-card upon payment of the contribution fee. The membership is at once effective upon payment and expires when an OFW’s contract expires. Except for members who register online, their membership does not exceed 2 years.

An OWWA member and their dependents enjoy a variety of services and benefits. The following are included:

1. Insurance and health care benefits covers a life and accident insurance. An OWWA membership entitles an OFW to Php 100,000 for the duration of his employment contract; a disability dismemberment benefit which ranges from Php 2,000 to Php 50,000; a total disability benefit worth Php 100,000 in the event of permanent disability; also a burial benefit of Php 20,000 in case of death.

Basic Requirements for Life Insurance, Disability, Dismemberment and Burial Benefits:
1. Passport (for Land-based OFW) Seaman's Service Record Book (for Sea-based OFW) 2. Certificate of Membership issued by the OWWA Membership Processing Center (MPC) 3. OFW/Seaman's undertaking executed by claimant (for Death claim)
Documentary Requirements for Life Insurance Benefits:
1. Original Death Certificate issued by Local Civil Registrar (LCR) or Authenticated by National Statistic Office (NSO) or Foreign Death Certificate for OFW who died abroad and accident report for death due to accident 2. Burial Permit 3. Official receipt of funeral expenses 4. ID picture of claimant (2 pieces) 5. Any of the following applicable documents certified by LCR

NSO: -Marriage certificate - if claimant is the spouse -Birth certificate of OFW - if claimant is the Mother or Father -Birth certificate of child and death certificate of deceased spouse, if claimant is the child -Certificate of no marriage

In the absence of birth/marriage certificate, the following must be submitted:
1. Certificate from LCR that fact of marriage/birth is not recorded in the civil registry 2. Baptismal/marriage certificate certified by the Parish priest /office 3. Affidavit of two (2) disinterested persons re facts of birth / marriage and claimant's relationship to the deceased
Documentary Requirements for Disability Benefit

1. Foreign medical certificate 2. Medical certificate issued by the local attending Physician with medical examination procedure, e.g., X-ray, MRI, CT Scan 3. Accident report

2. An OFW OWWA member or his designated beneficiary can undergo an Education and Training Program wherein he or she is subjected to a selection process and accreditation of participating institutions. The education for the development scholarship program is a scholarship grant offered to qualified beneficiaries or dependents of an OWWA member who intends to enroll in any 4 to 5-year baccalaureate course with Php 30,000 worth of financial aid.

OWW's Skills-for-Employment Scholarship program is a tie up with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) that offers a land-based or sea- based OWWA member or dependent with Php 7,250 and Php 14,000 financial assistance for a 6-month program and 1-year program respectively.

Course offerings include: agriculture and fishery; processed food and beverages; tourism (hotel and restaurant); decorative crafts and ceramics; gifts, toys and housewares; jewelry; metals and engineering; furniture and fixtures; garments; construction; communication/electronics/information technology; maritime; land transport; health, social services; and other community, social and personal services.

The Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP) meanwhile intends to provide OWWA member seafarers job-related training with training financial assistance that ranges from Php 1,200 to Php 7,500 inclusive of meal and transportation allowances.

Other OWWA educated-related benefits include the DOLE-OWWA Tulay Microsoft Project which trains OFWs to in basic computer applications such as MS Word, Powerpoint, Excel and general IT use at the Community Technology Learning Centers (CTLC).

The Tulay-Aral project assists children of former OFWs who are in need of financial aid to enable them to continue their elementary and high school education in the Philippines. It provides a USD 100- financial support per year to the child-beneficiary. Donors may be OFWs, OFW organizations, and other interested individuals or groups.

An extended assistance of the Tulay-Aral project is the Tuloy Kolehiyo (“continuation of college education”) that includes a tertiary education leading to either an associate or baccalaureate degree. The beneficiaries are entitled to either semestral stipend or actual costs of tuition and miscellaneous fees, offered by participating educational institutions, but not to exceed the maximum amount Php 15,000 per school year.

Education and Training Program requirements

1. Accomplished application forms (2 sets)
2. 1"x 1" ID pictures (2 copies)
3. Proof of relationship to Member (copy of Birth Certificate of applicant and of the Member if related as brother or sister duly certified by the Local Civil Registrar or NSO)
4. Form 137 or Transcript of Records with Principal's Certification on Scholastic Standing
5. Proof of OWWA membership (i.e. Official Receipt of OWWA Contribution/Certification from OWWA Membership Processing Center)
6. Health Certificate attesting to physical fitness of applicant (Form B)
7. Certificate of Good Moral Character issued by the School Principal/Guidance Counselor (Form C)
8. Certification that applicant belongs to upper 20% of graduating class issued by school principal (2 sets)
9. Statement of applicant that he/she has not earned units in any post-secondary / undergraduate course (Form E)
10. Sworn Statement that he/she has no pending application for resident immigrant status in any country and does not have dual citizenship signed by parent or legal guardians (Form F)

3. The Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund (FELSF) is part of the government’s financial assistance and micro-finance for expatriates of the government to support them from the effects of global economic crisis. This may be availed by OFW’s who have contributed to the OWWA Fund (OWWA members) and who were in case terminated from work due to the closure or downsizing of their companies.

Skills-for-Employment Program requirements

1. Accomplished application forms (2 sets)
2. 1"x1" ID pictures (2 copies)
3. Form 137 / HS Report Card or Transcript of Records/ official copy of grades
4. Proof of OWWA Membership: official receipt of OWWA contribution / OFW E-Card
5. If a Member's beneficiary: proof of relationship to OWWA member (e.g. copy of marriage contract and/or birth certificate of both OFW and applicant- dependent duly certified by the Local Civil Registrar)

Seafarer’s Upgrading Program availment and documentary Requirements:

All Filipino seafarers who are OWWA members are entitled to avail of the program once every three (3) contributions. Availment may be assured upon first (1st) payment. Documents required are:

1. Accomplished application form
2. Seamen's Identification and Record Book (SRIB)
3. Proof of OWWA Membership (OR Of contribution)
4. 1"x1" photo (2 copies)
5. Latest residence certificate

4. A bridging program is a scholarship grant offered to deserving graduates of BS Mechanical Engineering and BS Electrical Engineering who wish to pursue a BS Marine Engineering course. It provides a beneficiary with a Php 30,000 per semester.

5. Should an OWWA-OFW need assistance in returning to the Philippines due to illness or any form of distress, the Repatriation program covers provision for immediate repatriation services like airport assistance, domestic transport, or temporary shelter.

6. OWWA also looks out for the growth and business prospects of OFWs. The OWWA- National Livelihood Support Fund gives OFWs access to entrepreneurial development opportunities and credit facilities to OFWs, their families, and organizations. Enterprises may include trading, services, manufacture and agri-business. The acceptable purposes of loan are working capital, business assets except lot, business site construction or improvement to the eligible members of OWWA. Requirements for eligibility of availing any of the benefits provided for by the agency may it documentary and other requirements are comprehensively listed for easy access.

7. An emergency hotline is on standby for OWWA OFWs. The 24/7 OWWA Operations Center is designed to respond quickly to OFW and public inquiries on OWWA programs and services. Manned by OWWA personnel who work in shifts, the Operations Center provides information and advice as well as facilitative services to OFWs in distress overseas, follow-up requests for assistance; global developments on worker migration; and coordination with OWWA regional welfare offices on OFW concerns.

Being an OWWA member has privileges that each member should make the most out of. More than privileges, it protects the rights of every member and guarantees that the sacrifices they make working away from home are worth it.

Jonathan Ong is based in Malate-Manila-Philippines

For more info/queries: contact number: (02) 310 - 1303

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