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DFA offices in 5 provinces, ‘burden’ to OFWs

AN association of licensed recruitment agencies, which deploys overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Singapore, has accused the offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in five provinces, as a “burden” to thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

According to Lucy Sermonia, president of the Association of Licensed Recruitment Agency for Singapore (ALRAS), the DFA offices in Legazpi, Zamboanga, Lucena, Pampanga and Cebu, were serving as “calvary” to OFWs, who wanted to get passports to be able to work abroad.

She alleged that these DFA offices refused to accept some valid documents, including birth certificate, marriage certificate, PhilHealth ID, postal ID, voter's ID, 4Ps ID, Form 137, old school ID, NBI clearance and police clearance, making it difficult for them to get passports.

Sermonia said that the only documents that these DFA offices are honoring are driver's license, SSS ID and BIR ID.

“Kapag hindi sila nakapag-prisinta ng driver’s licence, SSS ID at BIR ID, hindi tatanggapin ang kanilang aplikasyon sa pagkuha ng pasaporte kaya nawawalan sila ng pagkakataong makapagtrabaho sa Singapore, Hong Kong at Middle East,” Sermonia said.
"Sa ibang sangay ng DFA at maging sa main office nito sa Pasay City at iba pang lalawigan at probinsiya ay kinikilala naman ang mga unang dokumento na nabanggit,” she added.
She also bared that “corruption” and “fixing” in DFA offices in Legazpi, Zamboanga, Lucena, Pampanga and Cebu are now rampant.
The ALRAS, together with thousands of OFWs who want to work abroad, appealed to DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay and President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate their complaints and make it easier for OFWs to get a passport.