Press Release
March 5, 2019


Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families should take advantage of the wide range of services and benefits under a law that institutionalized and strengthened the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Angara said that under Republic Act 10801 or the OWWA Act of 2016, the benefits and services, among them loan and credit assistance and health care, are funded by the $25 membership fee collected from land-based and sea-based OFWs every two years.

"Huwag sanang mag-alinlangan ang ating mga kababayang OFW dahil ang mga benepisyong ito ay nanggaling mismo sa kanilang bulsa kaya marapat lamang na sila ay makinabang dito lalo na sa panahong kailangang nila ang tulong," said the lawmaker, who is running under the platform "Alagang Angara."

Angara co-authored and sponsored the OWWA Act of 2016 in his capacity as then chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.

Under the law, OWWA is mandated to provide benefits and services to its members, which include gender-responsive reintegration programs, repatriation assistance, loan and credit assistance, on-site worker assistance, death and disability benefits, health care benefits, education and skills training, social services, and family welfare assistance.

According to Angara, the benefits and services are just a small token of gratitude for the valuable contribution of OFWs to the overall national development effort. "We have to give back to our OFWs, whose remittances have kept the Philippine economy afloat for many years."

RA 10801 declared OWWA as a national agency and an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment that receives government funding instead of relying solely from the contributions of its OFW members.

Prior to the law, sea-based OFWs pay more fees than land-based workers as the frequency of their membership collection made dependent on the renewal of their contract. Filipino seafarers generally have shorter employment contracts that generally last for four months.

The law also calls for greater representation of OFWs in the OWWA Board of Trustees by increasing the number of representatives from the OFW sector from the present three to five (two from land-based OFWs, two from sea-based OFWs and one from the women sector), while representatives from the government was reduced from to six from seven.

"Sa ilalim ng bagong batas, mas naririnig na po ang boses ng ating OFWs. Dati po, mas maraming representante ang gobyerno. Kumbaga, 'yung interes ng gobyerno ang nakalalamang," Angara explained.

He added: "Sa ilalim ng bagong batas, represented ang ating OFWs. And that's the essence of democracy. Kung sino 'yung mas dapat na nairerepresenta, 'yun dapat ang may boses sa isang organisasyon."

Angara said that under the law, member OFWs are afforded social benefits, namely: death benefits of up to P200,000; burial benefit of P20,000; partial disability and dismemberment benefit between P2,500 and P50,000; and total disability benefit of P100,000.

RA 10801 further boosts the government's capacity to assist migrant workers who lost their jobs by making the reintegration of OFWs one of the core programs of OWWA, which will be funded with not less than 10 percent of the total collection every year.

The reintegration program includes granting of loans and other financial support, trainings on financial literacy, entrepreneurial development, techno-skills, business counseling, as well as job referrals for both local and overseas employment.

The new law also seeks to ensure transparency in the utilization and management of the OWWA funds, as the OWWA is mandated to maintain an interactive website to collect OFW feedback, comments, suggestions and complaints on existing programs and services.

News Latest News Feed