News OFW calls for suspension of contract verification, OEC at...

OFW calls for suspension of contract verification, OEC at POLO-OWWA

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A blogger and entrepreneur based in Dubai is calling the Philippine government to temporarily suspend the contract verification and overseas employment certificate (OEC) at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), following reports of complaints from Filipinos who are queuing as early as 3am at its premise. 

Ion Gonzaga penned a message to the office after being informed by many Facebook users about their recent experience in securing OECs and getting their employment contracts verified. He, too, saw what was happening on the ground after visiting the consulate, which is adjacent to the POLO Dubai office, last week. 

Applicants are coming as early as midnight to ensure they could in when they open at eight in the morning. Some sleep on the pavement or sand. As previously reported by The Global Filipino Magazine, some took leave from work only to fall in line for six to eight hours, and are coming from neighboring emirates, such as Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. 

“I thought we already have a plan to completely abolish OEC? Whatever happened to the idea to build a database for OFWs so we can completely get rid of this useless requirement?” he said. 

“If you cannot provide a good customer experience or at least improve the processing of contract verification and OEC, please scrap this. NOW,” he added. 

“Isn’t it ironic to preach you care for OFWs welfare yet you let us burn under the sun? Isn’t it ironic to ask us to respect the policies, yet you do not respect our time?” he said. 

Gonzaga suggested the following in an effort to accommodate more Filipinos everyday in the office: 

> WORK 24/7. Work smart. Hire more staff on a shifting basis. It’s not a new idea anymore. If there’s high demand then rotate your people. Be proactive. If we can endure coming in the wee hours of the night, what’s preventing you from having longer office hours?

> EXPAND THE OFFICE. What makes you believe that you can serve hundreds of thousands of OFWs in a small room in a villa? Allocate funds to invest in satellite offices. 

> REVAMP THE WEBSITE. Obviously, it’s long overdue. We’re in the metaverse era now yet you can’t even provide a simple appointment system that really works. As a UX design consultant, talk to me about revamping the website to make it useful and improve the experience of the people – online and offline. Or better yet, build an app – you have all the reasons to invest in it.

> DIGITALIZE EVERYTHING. I wonder what happened to the millions of photocopies that you have received from all of us over the years? Everyone has emails. We know how to use QR codes. We use WhatsApp more than ever. The pandemic has educated us to embrace digital. What’s holding us back? Allow people to do these on various digital channels.

> TRAIN OR HIRE MORE COMPETENT PEOPLE WITH GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE SKILLS. While I understand that their work could also be stressful, a little show of empathy would allow them to understand what the people in the queue are going through. Having rude staff just adds up to the already stressed OFWs. And, I repeat myself, if these measures cannot be done, please suspend, if not totally scrap, this useless requirement. It’s not rocket science to realize that these suggestions could and should be done.

Ryan Namia
Ryan Namia spends most of his days reading over drafts of new written content and determining which ones make the final cut for online and print publication. He received his Bachelor's degree in Journalism in 2015 and has been writing since 2016. Got a story to tell? Email him at eic@theglobalfilipinomagazine.com. Or follow his IG @rtnamia.

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