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The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration/ Association(OWWA) is an attached agency of the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) created in 1977. Is it the lead government agency tasked to protect and promote the welfare and well-being of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their dependents. It is present in 31 overseas posts in 27 countries. It also has its regional presence in seventeen regions.

The OWWA is a membership institution. For a US$25.00 membership contribution, an OWWA member is entitled to various benefits and services. Membership can be obtained by enrolment upon processing of a contract at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or by voluntary registration of a would-be member at job sites overseas. OWWA membership, either through the compulsory or voluntary coverages, shall be effective upon payment of membership contribution up until expiration of the employment contract.

The member is covered for a maximum of two years after which the membership has to be renewed.

OWWA offers core and secondary services. Core programs include a repatriation program, health and life insurance, and worker assistance for settling work-related disputes and fraud. OWWA is also mandated to maintain an Emergency Repatriation Fund to evacuate OFWs in case of wars, disasters, or epidemics. It also provides members with life and personal accident insurance while abroad.

Additionally, OWWA offers programs and services in its offices abroad, including counselling for distressed workers, paralegal services, and low-key diplomatic initiatives. Secondary services help migrants, before and after departure, and the families left behind. These include education and training, reintegration programs, and pre-departure loans to defray the cost of pre-departure requirements; family assistance loans for emergency purposes; livelihood loans to improve access to entrepreneurial development opportunities upon the migrants’ return.


Nakazibwe Aminah.

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