Saturday, April 11, 2015


Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)

The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a requirement under the rules and regulations of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to help ensure that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are properly documented and protected.

The OEC, sometimes also called the “exit pass,” is required to be presented to international ports of exit in the Philippines as proof that the holder is a bona fide OFW. It is thus necessary when a Household Service Worker (HSW), or any OFW, goes back to the Philippines for home leave, if he/she intends to return back to the country of employment.

OEC holders are exempted from paying the travel tax and the airport terminal fee.

Under the latest POEA Memo, effective 1st April 2015 OEC will be issued to vacationing workers separately from PHILHEALTH and PAG-IBIG payment collections. This means that the issuance of OEC is no longer tied up with the payment of fees for PHILHEALTH and PAG-IBIG. Read more >>> POEA MEMORANDUM - ISSUANCE OF OEC INDEPENDENTLY

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



Monday, December 17, 2012

The Catholic Churches in the Middle East: CHRISMASTIDE SCHEDULE 2012-2013

2012 Christmas_New Year 2013 Church Programme for Catholic Churches in the Middle East are available now. Please click the link (church's name) to download a copy.

Parishioners are highly requested to be patient, calm and be at peace to one another at all times during the special mass service. Additional info are posted per Parish Church and everyone is requested to abide the rules to have a peaceful service during this event.

St. Joseph's Cathedral Abu Dhabi
You are requested to park your cars near lady’s park just across the road to avoid traffic conjunction in front of the Church gate.

Take note of the additional Christmas mass timing on Christmas Eve due to the ongoing church construction inside the church compound to accommodate the volume of parishioners / attendees. Everyone is encourage to make use of the Christmas Eve' mass schedule available at your convenience.

St. Mary's Catholic Church Dubai

St. Mary's Catholic Church Al Ain

St. Francis of Assisi of Catholic Church, Jebel Ali, Dubai

St. Michael's Catholic Church, Sharjah
Request all parishioners to abide by the Sharjah Municipality notification regarding using the services of illegal car washers. Kindly cooperate with the authorities by not allowing your cars to be washed around the Church premises.

Sacred Heart Church, Manama, Bahrain

Friday, November 30, 2012


The Labor Offices of the Philippine Consulate General and Philippine Embassy in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively reminds Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs), who are vacationing in the Philippines and returning to the same employer in the UAE, to secure a POEA travel exit clearance in order to be allowed to leave the Philippines.

The OEC, which has a validity of 60 days, can be obtained from POEA’s Head Office, regional centers, satellite units, and deputized OWWA offices, as well as Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in various Philippines Embassies and Consulates. POEA has already opened its One-Way Delivery System (Dropbox) at the Balik-Manggagawa Processing Division in POEA, and On-Line Application ( as convenient and time-saving ways for OEC issuance.

OFWs in Dubai and the Northern Emirates who prefer to get the OEC from POLO-OWWA in  Dubai or Abu Dhabi must meet the following requirements:

Monday, September 3, 2012


Hard Part of Being an OFW is Leaving….
 Whenever I am alone I can’t help it but to recount past events in my life, asking questions and stupid enough in trying to find answers. Why am I here in a foreign land, totally different culture or should I say mix of cultures? Does my eldest daughter know that I have left them to provide for them?
 Will my four year old son still see me as his father? I was able to be with my family last April for a month and I am lucky enough that my boy and I didn’t have any trouble bonding, he has this charming character of being able to deal with strangers, yes I was a stranger to him because I left him when he was only 15 months old and have no memory of me. As for my daughter and even with my wife there was this awkwardness but with much effort I was able to patched up things and my vacation was enough to energize me for yet another year of being away from them.

It is unfair for OFWs to be treated as revenue mill or as OFWs consider themselves as government’s milking cow. With their dollar remittances that keep the Philippine economy afloat including the strengthening of peso against the dollar, it is unfortunate that the government continue to levy additional fees on this sector. Although OFWs do not oppose government’s plan to provide universal health insurance to the poor, it is immoral to use solidarity to burden the already suffering workers overseas.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


This is my life... my story as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) abroad.

As they say, being an OFW is difficult. But behind every OFW, is a story that needs to be heard.

 I’ve been a witness to a lot of dramas that usually take place at the NAIA airport. Families hugging at the parking area, husbands, wives and children crying, and well-wishers who incessantly give requests and final instructions to their “dearly-departing”. Yes … overrated as it may sound, but for us OFWs, leaving is like a yearly trip to the lethal injection chamber. That’s why, teary-eyed, highly emotional and hyper-sensitive passengers normally roam around our busy airport every day, and that includes me.
 So to keep myself busy while waiting for my flight, I normally observe my fellow OFWs and most of the times have small chats with them especially with the first timers. Then, after the small talks, I would usually sit back and stare at the airplanes outside the departure gate thinking about the life I am about to embrace again going back to the foreign land.
 Honestly, the feeling is unbearable even since I started working abroad. That’s why, I cannot help but wonder how could someone who stayed for 25 years or more in the Middle East to bear to go through the same feeling (technically) for 25 times?

We have this notion that when someone is an OFW or based abroad, he or she is loaded. Not true. An OFW might earn from P50K-P300K a month, depending on the location. Those in Saudi Arabia or the United States might earn in the high range. But to say that they're 'rich' is a fallacy (amen!).There's no place like home.

For some OFW's the notion maybe true but for most it's a fallacy like what the author of the article where I got the excerpt said. I have seen the plight of some unfortunate Filipinos working here in Qatar and even heard of some earning as low as QR 700.00 that is roughly Php 8,360.00. Imagine the hardships and the sacrifices it takes just to earn that meagre amount so they can send money home. I just can't imagine how they are surviving with that salary as the cost of living here is relatively higher compare to Saudi Arabia. My food allowance here ranges from QR 500 to 700 depending on what I prepare for my meal. I don't even want to know what he or she may be eating on every meal. Just the thought makes me feel bad but for the sake of their love ones back in the Philippines they are willing to take and bear everything.

  • If you go and work abroad, expect hard labor, not just strolling and shopping.
  •  Salary value is not that high in the foreign country you will be in but it is a good money because you can support your family in the Philippines.
  Expect the worst but use your mind in everything you do. Do not let others discriminate you. Just learn to manage difficulties – away from home, family and working with different nationalities.

 Your employers give you the salary so spend wisely. Employers are not that emotional or sensitive to your needs. They just expect you to work. Use your other skills, they value the money that they give to you, so work hard for it.

  • Don’t trust anyone quickly as not everyone could sympathize with you. You have to learn to face your own battles alone.
Imagine how hard it is to go and work abroad, just to earn money? People in the Philippines better show your OFW family the value that they should get in exchange to the hardships they experienced when they are working abroad.

OFWs standing in the queue at NAIA Immigration
OFWs going to OFW Lounge at NAIA for OEC Verification / Authentication hours before flight departure.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Guide for Non-Muslims: THE HOLY MONTH OF RAMADAN

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Though this year, 2012, expected to begin on July 21 and end August 18. The Islamic year has twelve lunar months, totalling 355 days. Each month starts on a new moon. This means that Ramadan begins about 10 days earlier each year. The Islamic New Year also advances by 10 days per year (compared with the Gregorian Calendar used in the West).

What happens during Ramadan?

Muslims mark Ramadan by fasting each day from sunrise to sunset. This is a strict fast - no food and no drink of any sort, not even water. It is hard for smokers, because that too is disallowed. The faithful rise early in the morning and take a meal, Suhoor, before dawn and first prayers. Their next meal is called Iftar and is taken after the sunset prayer. Within the faith, exceptions are made for the old and infirm, young children and pregnant and nursing mothers.

Throughout Ramadan, families get together to share food and company in the evenings and night-time, and the emphasis is always on reflection, prayer and charity. Ramadan is not a commercialised festival.

If you live in an Islamic country
Ramadan is enshrined in law; it is not simply a religious option. You are not obliged to fast, but you are required to respect the traditions. Here are some tips to avoid accidental offence:
Take a good breakfast in the privacy of your apartment before venturing out for the day. If you must have lunch, take a packed lunch and find a private place to eat it. Better still, try to do without. Most of us carry a few extra pounds anyway.

Don't snack - avoid coffees, sweets, gum, etc. during the day. Most of this is habit, rather than necessity, so it's a good discipline. You'll want to drink water. Try to find a private place.

Try not to smoke. If you really must, find a private place, but also consider why you must!

Be careful on the roads! Driving standards are low in the Gulf States at the best of times. Around sunset, the roads are full of people rushing home to break their day-long fast with their families. Many are dehydrated and very tired. Seriously - be careful!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Labour Law in the UAE  - Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating labour relations as amended by Federal Laws Nos. 24 of 1981, 15 of 1985 and 12 of 1986 (the "Law").

According to Article 3 of the Law, the Law applies to all staff and employees working in the United Arab Emirates, whether UAE national or expatriate. However certain categories are exempted from its applicability:

  1. Staff and workers employed by the federal government, government departments of the member-emirates, the municipalities, public bodies, federal and local public institutions and those staff and workers employed in federal and local governmental projects are exempt.
  2. Members of the armed forces, police and security units.
  3. Domestic servants and their like.
  4. Agricultural workers and persons engaged in grazing (this exemption does not include persons who are employed in corporations which process agricultural products and or those who are permanently engaged in the operation of/or repair of machines required for agriculture.

 Section II, Article 132-141

Employee entitlement at the termination of the employment contract
The employee at the termination of the employment contract will be entitled for to the following:
  1. A notice period, or any amount due in lieu of the notice period, in the case of an unlimited contract.
  2. Compensation for the unreasonable dismissal if the contract was terminated by the employer for unreasonable cause, in the case of an unlimited contract.
  3. In the case of a limited contract, compensation equivalent to the period until the end of the contract, or three month's salary whichever is greater.
  4. Payments equivalent to the balance of unutilized leave or any part thereof.
  5. Payments for overtime or any balance of wages due and not yet paid.
  6. End of service gratuity calculated on the duration of the employment.
  7. Repatriation expense as per the law or the contact.

End of service gratuity in terms of compensation
An employee who completes one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to gratuity at the end of the service. The gratuity shall be calculated as follows:
  1. 21 day's wages for each year of the first five years.
  2. 30 day's wages for each additional year on condition that the total of the gratuity shall not exceed the wages of two years.

Gratuity Calculation
Gratuity is calculated on an annual basis if the employee has actually completed one year of employment with the employer or more. The day of absence from work without pay shall not be included in calculating the length of service. However, if the employee completed a year in service he will be entitled to a gratuity for the fraction of the year proportional for the part of the year he spent in work provided that he has completed one year in continuous service.

Friday, January 13, 2012

SPECIAL CASES: DOJ / BI Memo on Departure Formalities


DOJ-BI Memorandum dated 03 January 2012

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9208, otherwise known as the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, Republic Act No. 8042, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995”, as amended by Republic Act No. 10022 and other related laws, the following guidelines, providing for definite parameters in the strict enforcement of immigration departure formalities intended for the prevention of trafficking in persons, illegal recruitment, and other related offenses, are hereby promulgated for strict implementation/compliance by all concerned:


Workers to undergo final interview/qualifying exam as required by their prospective employers shall present the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) Special Exit Clearance. In the absence of thereof, passengers shall not be cleared for departure.


Travelers intending to depart to another country for the purpose of on-the-job training shall present the following additional documents:
  • i. School certification on the need for on-the-job training
  • ii. Acceptance by the host company
  • iii. Certificate of Overseas Training by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
3. For relatives requesting for compassionate visit

To an irregular worker abroad, a certification from Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) must be secured.