MANILA, July 29 (Mabuhay) –The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is looking to reduce the overseas Filipino worker deployment process from three months to three weeks with the digitization of its systems and processes, DMW spokesperson Tony Nebrida said Friday.

Nebrida was referring to the proposed digitization project for OFW deployment which will also cover OFWs’ application forms and contracts, among others.

“On digitization, Secretary [Susan] Toots [Ople] has been working very closely with the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology)… She is relying on the technical skills and experience of Secretary [Ivan] Uy in providing guidance for our digitization process,” said Nebrida during a public briefing.

“Must applicants really be physically present in the agencies to submit requirements? Or can they submit certain requirements by attaching them in an online portal as part of their application process to work overseas? The bulk of the bottleneck is created by the process of application to actual deployment which could last as long as three months. If possible, as we digitize our process, we want to cut such a timeframe to three weeks,” he added.

Nebrida then said that Ople, a former Labor Undersecretary, was reviewing the existing systems and processes from the application required to be filled out for deployment up to the point of hiring.

“The review is being done to all of the attached agencies, and what we found out is that the verification and accreditation [of documents and other requirements] are being done by multiple government agencies. We want these to be done under one department to shorten the process and avoid agencies doing exactly the same thing,” Nebrida said.

“We want to monitor them [OFWs] until they are for repatriation, reunification with the family, and reintegration with the society,” Nebrida added.

One Repatriation hotline

Likewise, Nebrida said that distressed OFWs and their families can call the One Repatriation hotline at 1348 if they need immediate assistance.

“If they are suffering from poor working conditions such as being deprived of food, rest, being overworked for 12 to 16 hours, being locked up and other oppressive conditions, or even in need of medical assistance, they should make the call,” Nebrida said.

“The same goes for families. If suddenly they don’t hear from their parents or child working abroad, they can call 1348 or send an email at repat@dmw.gov.ph. They don’t need to sell [their] carabao to raise money and come to Manila to ask for government assistance. That 1348 is like a 911 [emergency hotline], a battlefield hospital that will trigger a response once a call or email comes in,” Nebrida added. (MNS)

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