The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) plays a vital role in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Its purpose and functions include:
- Policy Implementation: POLO is responsible for implementing the policies and programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) related to OFWs. This includes ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations, promoting fair employment practices, and protecting the rights of OFWs.
- Assistance and Welfare Services: POLO provides various forms of assistance and welfare services to OFWs. This includes facilitating access to legal, medical, and financial assistance when needed. POLO also assists in resolving labor disputes, providing repatriation assistance, and offering counseling and reintegration services to returning OFWs.
- Pre-Employment Orientation Seminars: POLO conducts pre-employment orientation seminars (PEOS) to inform prospective OFWs about their rights, responsibilities, and the potential risks and challenges they may encounter while working abroad. These seminars aim to prepare OFWs for overseas employment and help them make informed decisions.
- Labor Market Information: POLO collects and disseminates labor market information to OFWs, such as job vacancies, employment conditions, and local labor laws in the host countries. This information helps OFWs make informed choices regarding employment opportunities and ensures they are aware of their rights and protections.
- Partnership and Coordination: POLO collaborates with various stakeholders, including host governments, recruitment agencies, employers, and non-governmental organizations, to ensure the welfare and protection of OFWs. This involves establishing partnerships, fostering dialogue, and coordinating efforts to address issues affecting OFWs.
- Skills and Livelihood Programs: POLO supports skills development and livelihood programs for OFWs and their families. It facilitates training programs and promotes entrepreneurship initiatives to enhance the capabilities and economic prospects of OFWs, both abroad and upon their return to the Philippines.
- Advocacy and Protection: POLO’s crucial role lies in actively advocating for the rights and welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The agency takes proactive measures to combat human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and various forms of exploitation. Additionally, POLO extends comprehensive assistance to OFWs who have suffered abuse, exploitation, or discrimination, ensuring their access to justice and promoting their overall well-being.
What is the meaning of POLO?
POLO is an acronym and it means Philippine Overseas Labor Office.
What is the purpose of setting up POLO offices abroad?
The POLO offices cater to Overseas Filipino Workers by ensuring that the rights of Filipinos are protected.
Functions & Responsibilities of POLO office
- The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) is the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) link to the world.
This statement indicates that POLO serves as a vital connection between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the Philippines and the rest of the world. It suggests that POLO plays a significant role in managing labor-related matters concerning overseas Filipino workers.
- POLO embodies DOLE’s continuing efforts to ensure that the rights of Filipino workers are protected while promoting their welfare, especially to protect them from abuse and violence.
This statement emphasizes that POLO is responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of Filipino workers abroad. It suggests that POLO works towards preventing abuse and violence against overseas Filipino workers and strives to create a safe and conducive working environment for them.
- The POLO acts as a POEA representative abroad, on request, to serve as a marketing agent for the DOLE with the power to negotiate contracts with foreign employers as set out in the POEA’s negotiating procedures.
This statement indicates that POLO can serve as a representative of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) abroad. It suggests that, upon request, POLO can act as a marketing agent for the DOLE and engage in negotiating contracts with foreign employers, following the established procedures of the POEA.
- POLO ensures that laws, policies, programs, and services for overseas Filipino workers are in place.
This statement highlights that POLO has a responsibility to ensure the existence and implementation of laws, policies, programs, and services that are specifically designed to support and protect overseas Filipino workers. It suggests that POLO works towards establishing a favorable framework to address the needs and concerns of Filipino workers abroad.
- POLO also maintains an updated database on contracts of OFWs worldwide.
This statement states that POLO keeps a comprehensive and up-to-date database of contracts involving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) worldwide. It suggests that POLO maintains records related to employment agreements and contracts to ensure transparency and facilitate necessary actions when required.
- POLO office conducts regular inspections on deployment agencies.
This statement indicates that the POLO office carries out regular inspections on deployment agencies. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure that the agencies adhere to relevant regulations and guidelines in the recruitment and deployment of Filipino workers abroad.
- The POLO office evaluates employment agreements submitted by individual employers.
This statement suggests that the POLO office is responsible for evaluating employment agreements submitted by individual employers who wish to hire Filipino workers. This evaluation process likely involves assessing the terms and conditions of employment to ensure their compliance with labor laws and the welfare of the workers.
- POLO rescreens deployed workers, and this agency verifies employment records abroad.
This statement implies that POLO conducts rescreening procedures for workers who have been deployed abroad. Additionally, POLO verifies the employment records of these workers to ensure accuracy and integrity, potentially assisting in resolving any issues related to employment.
- POLO office abroad engages in sociocultural activities sponsored by the Philippine government, host country, Filipino communities, and other organizations as a part of your need-based community development and relationship program.
This statement suggests that the POLO office abroad participates in sociocultural activities organized by various entities, including the Philippine government, host countries, Filipino communities, and other organizations. These activities likely aim to foster community development, strengthen relationships, and support the welfare of overseas Filipino workers.
- The POLO office also performs other responsibilities as assigned by the Secretary of Labor and Employment.
This statement indicates that the POLO office carries out additional responsibilities as assigned by the Secretary of Labor and Employment.
Common Services Filipinos Avail in POLO office
The most common services OFWs inquire and process at the POLO office include the following:
- Issuance of OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) –The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) is an agency under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the Philippines. One of its responsibilities is to issue Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs) to Filipino workers who are currently employed abroad and are planning to go on vacation to the Philippines. The OEC is also known as the Balik Manggagawa certificate (BMC).The OEC/BMC serves as proof that the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) is a legitimate and documented worker and is allowed to leave the country where they are currently employed and return to the Philippines temporarily. It is a document that OFWs need to present to the immigration authorities at the airport when departing from and returning to their work abroad.The OEC/BMC is obtained by the OFW through the POLO office or the Philippine Embassy/Consulate in the country where they are employed. The OFW needs to provide certain documents and fulfill specific requirements to apply for the OEC, such as a valid employment contract, a valid passport, proof of existing employment, and payment of the necessary fees.The purpose of the OEC/BMC is to ensure the protection and welfare of Filipino workers abroad and to regulate the temporary visits they make to the Philippines. It helps in facilitating the smooth departure and return of OFWs, while also keeping track of their employment status and ensuring that they are properly documented and protected under the labor laws of the Philippines.
- Contract Verification – Another service POLO handles is the verification of employment papers offered by potential local employers hiring Filipino workers.
- Mediation between Employee and Employer – The POLO office offers conflict resolution services for employees and employers to resolve their issues amicably.
POLO Office Organizational Officers and Staff
In every POLO office, you should expect to find the following officers and staff:
- Labor Attaché: The Labor Attaché is the head of the POLO office and is responsible for overseeing the operations and functions of the office. They represent the Philippine government and protect the welfare and interests of Filipino workers in the host country.
- Welfare Officers: Welfare officers provide assistance and support to Filipino workers in distress or in need of help. They address issues such as labor disputes, contract violations, abuse, and other welfare concerns. They also facilitate repatriation and provide counseling services.
- Verification Officers: Verification officers validate the employment contracts and documents of Filipino workers to ensure their compliance with labor laws and regulations. They also verify job offers and employment conditions to protect Filipino workers from illegal or exploitative arrangements.
- Case Officers: Case officers handle labor-related cases and complaints filed by Filipino workers. They investigate labor disputes, mediate between parties involved, and provide legal assistance or referrals when necessary.
- Filipino Workers’ Resource Center (FWRC) Staff: The FWRC is a support center for Filipino workers in the host country. The staff at FWRC provide various services, including information dissemination, pre-departure orientation seminars, skills training, and other forms of assistance to promote the welfare and empowerment of Filipino workers.
- Labor Attaché (DOLE)
- Foreign Service personnel (DFA)
- Welfare Officer (OWWA)
- Center Coordinator (OWWA)
- Interpreter, when necessary (local hire)
Here is a sample organization structure in one of the POLO offices (this one is based in Abu Dhabi):
The POLO (Philippine Overseas Labor Office) is a collaborative initiative between the Philippine government and the local private sector aimed at promoting and accelerating growth. It focuses on facilitating the exchange of information, ideas, expertise, and experiences between both entities.
The POLO operates under the framework of the One-Country Team Approach (OCTA). According to this approach, all representatives, officials, and staff of the Philippine government stationed outside of the Philippines function as unified teams with a shared mission, led by the Ambassador. The OCTA ensures that these teams work together harmoniously and effectively towards achieving their goals.
The main objective of the POLO and OCTA is to enhance the welfare and protect the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The POLO offices provide various services, including employment facilitation, assistance in labor-related issues, welfare support, and promotion of OFW rights. They also collaborate with the private sector to create opportunities for OFWs, promote investments, and foster economic growth.
By fostering cooperation and coordination among government officials, private sector representatives, and the Filipino diaspora, the POLO and OCTA strive to create a conducive environment for the mutual benefit of the Philippines and its overseas communities.
Where are the POLO Labor Offices Abroad?
POLO offices are located in strategic areas where the are a large number of Overseas Filipino workers. If you wish to know where are the locations of these POLO offices, please check out this directory list – Directory: POLO-OWWA Offices Overseas
The POLO offices serve as a link between the Philippine government and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Their primary role is to ensure that laws, policies, programs, and services for OFWs are in place and properly implemented. Meaning of POLO – Philippine Overseas Labor Office
One important task of the POLO offices is to maintain an updated database on the contracts of OFWs worldwide. This database contains information on OFWs’ employment contracts, terms and conditions, and other relevant details. This information is shared with various government agencies such as the Bureau of Immigration (BI), diplomatic missions, local government units (LGUs), and the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Center (MWOFRC). This collaboration helps in coordinating efforts and providing support to OFWs in different countries.
It is common for POLO offices to be located within Philippine embassies or consulates in foreign countries. This facilitates their close coordination with the diplomatic missions and allows them to provide assistance and services to OFWs in the same location.
By having POLO offices abroad, the Philippine government aims to protect the rights and welfare of its citizens working overseas. These offices play a crucial role in addressing the concerns and needs of OFWs, providing them with necessary support, and ensuring their well-being while working in foreign countries.