A migrant workers’ group in Hong Kong has said they will oppose the new Identification for overseas Filipino workers known as iDOLE if it will not be given for free.
iDOLE will replace the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), an infamous requirement that has resulted in frustrations among OFWs due to the slow and tedious process. It is also viewed by migrant groups as a mere money-making scheme.
“When Sec. Silvestre Bello III had a dialogue with Filipino migrant groups here in Hong Kong, he promised that the OFW ID (or iDOLE) will be free of charge. Now, it is revealed that it is not actually free, and it is our employers who will pay for it. This is an outrage!” Dolores Balladares, chair of United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK) said.
According to Balladares, Filipino migrants in Hong Kong welcomed the development during a dialogue with Bello but only with the following conditions: that iDOLE should be provided free of charge; it should not be a requirement for membership in Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth, SSS, etc; it should be issued quickly without any hassle; and should be issued on site where the OFW currently works and not limited to issuance in the Philippines only.
“He’s reneging on his promise. It just goes to show how his department is isolated from migrant workers; he doesn’t know our reality. Not all employers are kind-hearted. If this pushes through, our kababayan will be forced to pay iDOLE out of our own pockets just so we are not terminated because the employer refuses to pay for the iDOLE,” Balladares explained.
“We will definitely protest this recent development because if we do not, more fees will be imposed upon us,” Balladares added.