ZAMBOANGA CITY– Returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) or Balik Manggagawa (BMs) may now enjoy the benefits of the Membership and Benefits E-Card issued by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) starting November 2018.

OWWA 9 formally launched the OWWA Membership and Benefits E-Card Project on November 9, 2018 in Zamboanga City in line with the agency’s mandate under Republic Act No. 10801 to issue OWWA e-Card to its members as proof of membership.

The OFW E-Card aims to improve and enhance service delivery to member-OFWs as it will provide easy and faster access to OWWA programs and services and other social benefits. It shall likewise reduce documentary requirements for OFW transactions with POEA and the Bureau of Immigration since it also serves as a valid ID.

For the implementation of the first (1st) phase of the OWWA Membership and Benefits E-Card Project, the OFW e-Card shall only be issued to Balik Manggagawa Workers/Returning Workers (BM) or Sea-based Workers/Seafarers (SB).

BM Workers are OFWs who are active OWWA members, and are still on-site or on vacation and are returning to the same employer/principal and jobsite, with a valid employment visa/work permit, with existing records in the POEA database.

Meanwhile, SB Workers are OFWs who are active OWWA members, and are employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship, with a valid seafarer’s/worker’s visa, with existing records in the POEA database.

Members may now apply online to avail the E-card thru www.owwa.gov.ph and clicking the banner that says “Libreng OWWA OFW e-Card” which will direct users to an online application form. Members may also choose the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare Office where to pick up their e-card.

To apply for OWWA programs, OFWs only have to show their card or the digital copy of the card, which has a QR code that can be easily scanned to verify authenticity. END/With reports from Fatima Jane G. Salihuddin, OWWA9

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