Friday, September 20, 2013

POEA Balik-Manggagawa

I was freeing my file case of extra, unwanted papers and I found a piece of paper I wrote out of boredom while inside POEA. It's a real time account of what was happening while I' was processing my OEC. Although it is a year old now (as of posting this entry), I say it's still the same; I had my annual vacation again this 2013 as an OFW from Saudi and the procedure is basically the same. I'm just sharing my experience...




For Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to the Philippines for his/her vacation from work, it is mandatory to apply for an OEC. My arrival date was March 24, 2012, Saturday, so naturally, I need to wait for a weekday for me to process that. For the information of the readers, OEC stands for Overseas Employment Certificate. You will need this form before you get out of the country once again. It is 'sort of' paying your dues for the duration that you have been away from the Philippines. You pay for OWWA, PAGIBIG, SSS, etcetera. In short, you have to work on it whether you like it or you'll be put on hold at NAIA or worse not allowed to fly back to your country of work.

It is a Monday today, and I am seated next to roughly 700 OFWs coming from different nations. I have come across people who hailed from Korea, Hong Kong, Canada and the Gulf countries. At the time of writing this I have stayed in my position for already an hour and 40 minutes. When I entered the office, at 0820H, the 100th customer is on queue on the line.

Knowing that this can be a whole day process, I was warned by my colleagues in Jeddah that I should come early to finish early. I had a small chat with the security guard outside the building and according to him as early as 4am men and women were forming their lines outside to finish before lunch time.

Before entering the main gate, there is this small table on the right corner of the main entrance with a placard that says Balik-Manggagawa. Without asking, I just fell in line and see what people were taking our from their bags. Apparently, they just needed my passport to take a look at the expiry date. FYI, your passport has to be valid at least 6 months before your departure. If it is bound to expire, then you have to renew it!

From the main entrance, you'll have to get straight within the same floor to the Balik-Manggagawa section. That's at the Lower Ground Floor! Once again, a guard will look at your passport and he will ask you to fill out your forms and complete the fields needed. Here are the forms: Balik Manggagawa options, Balik Manggagawa Information Sheet, Absentee Voting Form, and Member's Data Form (MDF). In these forms, you'll supply the bio-data-ish fields like biographic and contact information, your employer, your salary, your contract duration, date of arrival and date of departure/return of OFW to the job site. Some of the important details you need to indicate are: Tax Payer's Identification Number (TIN), SSS/GSIS Number, and your contact details.

 Form current as of March 20, 2013



The above forms are also available online! I suggest you read the official website to learn more! Here's the link:


Once completed, you just wait for your number to appear on the LED screen in front of the counters. There are ample amount of chairs with arm board/desk so you could just sit there comfortably and just wait for your number. Plus they have a television set where you could watch Unang Hirit and Doraemon! Haha. There is also somebody who speaks using the overhead audio system to guide the OFWs of what to do. They have 17 counters and each has an assessor/evaluator  to check your documents and advise you of what to do. They instruct individuals to fall in line by 20s. First 20, then 21-40, 41-60, 61-80, 81-100, and so forth.

After getting your COE, make sure you have three sheets/copies. Keep those in a secure folder and enjoy your vacation!

Here are helpful links for you: 

They also have SSS and PAGIBIG counters where you can pay your dues and update your status.

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