Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Documented Expat

Being an OFW, (well used to be one) but being married to one is not all fun when you are going home to your own country.

One would think, you don't have to worry about documents and identifications if your destination is yous hometown.  However, that is not the case for Filipinos.  I must say, we just love to make everything so complicated.  We adhere to these laws not knowing exactly what it is for.  Yes, I am talking about OEC, Pag-IBIG payment and SSS.  You need to pay for all these documents before flying back home.  Or for some, before going back to where you are located abroad.

I must admit, I have never understood why our government requires everybody to have all these documents.  Okay, the SSS (Social Security Services) is helpful.  It is sort of your bank where you get to loan if in case you need additional cash.  Ever since I started working, I have already contributed to SSS and never had the chance to use it.  Some warned me that idle accounts are sometimes used by other people.  How can they call themselves Security Services if the member won't be secured with their system?  Then the Pag-ibig membership, if you are buying a lot or a house and lot in the Philippines, it is better if coursed thru Pag-IBIG. I'm not really sure about it too.  And last in the list is the OEC - Overseas Employment Certificate.

Before I plow further with my dislike on the issue.  Last December 2013, while I was preparing for my brother's visa going here, I was informed by the travel agent who processed it that aside from securing an Affidavit of Support, I also need to provide an OEC so my brother won't be hold at the Philippine Immigration counter.  That's the thing, every time I apply for visa a new requirement comes up.  Philippine Immigration just can't seem to make up their mind.  They try to stop people from going out of the country - why?  Can the country offer better opportunity compared to what these hopeful OFW's wll be earning?  Sigh.

Anyway, those new requirement pushed me to visit Philippine Embassy here in Abu Dhabi.  So aside from the Affidavit of Support, I have to apply for an OEC, but since I am not employed we have to get one for my husband.  We visited the embassy around 3 pm and was informed that they only serve 300 people per day.  We were advised to come early so we could get a priority number.  The following day, we were surprised when we got there, at 6:30 am there was already a queue.  It was DFA Davao city 2008 all over again.  Some people were already there as early as 3 am.  Who does that???  Apparently Filipinos itching to go home for Christmas.

Anyway, at 7:30 am, somebody from the embassy was distributing forms to be filled up. The first 150 will be served in the morning and the remaining 150 will be in the afternoon.  Warning to those who will be getting their OEC during December, start early and take the day off as the process will take up the entire day.  And it won't be a Philippine institute/service without fixers.  Yes, even abroad they still thrive.  One "Ate" was lurking among a group of people who was giving unsolicited advices and suddenly say "madali lang namn po yan, pwede ko po ipasok yan dun para mas mabili..."  Alam na!  It is so typical Filipino.  It is embarrassing.

I might have covered the entire post with my rant over my experience at the Philippine Embassy here in Abu Dhabi.  Additional infor for those who needs direction going there, bus numbers 8, 9, 10, 11 and 161 passes by the area.  Or if you have extra cash you can always take the cab.

I hope, one day the system will be fixed.  A better service will be provided for the OFW not just for the documentation but also for those who really needed assistance.  OFW's are worth more than a  dozen of Vhong Navarros, you know.  I'm just saying.

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