MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Thursday, December 14, there are no plans to change the design of the identification cards for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) despite criticism.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had drawn flak on social media for putting an image of President Rodrigo Duterte on the OFW ID – something Duterte himself told government agencies not to do.
But Bello said he has yet to hear complaints from Filipino migrant workers, so the design stays for now.Sa lahat ng messages na natanggap ko galing sa mga OFWs, wala pong negative reaction from OFWs. Positive lahat," he said. (Of all the messages I've received from OFWs, there's been no negative reaction from OFWs. They're all positive.)
"Tinitignan muna 'yung mga reaction from OFWs sa ID. We are observing the process ng paggawa ng card at pag-distribute," he added. (We're observing the reactions from OFWs regarding the ID. We are observing the process of making and distributing the card.)
Bello earlier said DOLE was open to redesigning the OFW ID amid flak from netizens.
He also reiterated that DOLE was solely responsible for the design of the OFW ID and said that the inclusion of the President's photo "symbolizes [Duterte's] desire to help improve the life of our OFWs."
No negative reactions from OFWs?
Several netizens, however, have said the photo of the President was an unnecessary detail. Some also questioned why Duterte's image was printed in color and was even bigger than the OFW's black and white photo.
The sample OFW ID card had been posted by Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson on her Facebook page.
"Kung may negative reaction ang mga OFWs sa OFW ID, tell us. We want to feel the pulse of OFWs, hindi 'yung mga politicians or executives. Puwede namang ipalit iyon. Kung gusto 'nyo, 'yung mukha ko na lang," Bello said in jest.
(If there are negative reactions from OFWs regarding the OFW ID, tell us. We want to feel the pulse of OFWs, not politicians or executives. It can still be changed. If you want, it can be my face instead.)
Initial release and processing of the OFW IDs started on December 7, as Bello and Duterte welcomed several returning OFWs at the Clark International Airport.
About 500 OFWs have been given the OFW ID, as the program is in its first phase of implementation. Only returning OFWs under the Balik Manggagawa program of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) can apply for the first phase.
Accessible via the iDOLE One-Stop Online Facility (iDOLE.ph), the ID inter-links services and information from different government agencies, such as the POEA, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The OFW ID will be given to workers for free, with OWWA funds to be used for printing.
Filipino migrant workers have been anticipating the OFW ID's release as it will replace the overseas employment certificate, a required document which has become burdensome for workers to secure. – Rappler.com