at the POEA last 28 December 2010, 6:58am with Oversease Exit Clearance form # 302 and my passport

If you must know, our government in Pinas requires all Overseas Filipino Workers who go on leave and/or vacation from their work site abroad to secure Overseas Exit Clearance (OEC) from Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and pay applicable fees to Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) before they can be allowed to leave our terminals and report back to work abroad. The total fees for that OEC amount to PhP 2084.18 (POEA processing fee of PhP 100, OWWA membership PhP 1084.18 and PHILHEALTH PhP 900; I and my colleagues paid everything despite we have PHILHEALTH membership from our previous employers).

THE EXPERIENCE OF AN OEC FIRST TIME APPLICANT. After I left the country to be a Medical Lecturer in a University-College in Penang, Malaysia in 29 July 2010, I was very excited to come home (with my wife and kid as they spent 2-week-break in Penang prior to Xmas) to Pinas and spend a week-long days off.

Having briefed by fellow Filipino MDs who have gone home several times, of what to do and how to secure OEC, I thought I knew what to expect. Still, I was astonished by the volume of OFWs who trooped to POEA that same day as I applied for my OEC.

I arrived at POEA at 6:58AM on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 and the security guard handed my OEC application form number 302. At that early, there were already 301 OFWs who came before me; amazing! 😦  Apparently, because most Filipinos of course would prefer to celebrate Christmas and New Year holidays at home.

So I queued and when permitted to enter the waiting area inside, I saw the crowd. Nabanggit ko sa sarili ko, “Ang dami nga pala talagang nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa at kabilang na ako doon!” (I realized that there are a lot of Filipinos working abroad and that includes me already!).

In fairness to POEA officials, the process was organized that day, however they have to make room for more improvements particularly on the attitude of few of them.

An old lady (perhaps on her late 50s) officer at the Evaluation window yelled several times to first few OEC applicants. Goodness gracious, aren’t she aware that we’re the so-called Bagong Bayani? that we’re contributing to the economy of our country as dollar-earners? that our taxes pay their salaries?

To consider that it was early morning, being reprimanded on top of her voice can really ruin your whole day. And so I prepared my counter statement should I’d be yelled at too. hehehe 😀 Hindi uubra sa akin yun! But thank God she smiled at me when I approached her window as my number  was called after 2 and a half hours of waiting!

I hate to think that my profession made her tone down a bit because I believe they should render their service equally to the public, regardless whether you’re a domestic helper, seaman, doctor, lecturer abroad.

I completed the process of securing OEC (evaluation, assessment, payment) in 2 and a half hours. I saw my colleagues from Penang who came in late that morning still waiting for their numbers to be called outside the building. FYI, they finished at around 4PM. Imagine, they were there almost the whole day! As one of them put it, “Isang araw na dapat kasama ang pamilya na minsan lang makita, kukunin pa nila!”

I appeal to those public officials serving not only OFWs but kapwa-Pinoys in general to kindly render their work with a smile. It definitely helps when you perform with friendliness, efficiency, accuracy and speed.

The same goes to those who are in the Immigration counters, pakibilisan lang po ang serbisyo lalo na sa mga Pinoy na pagod galing sa biyahe.

yun lang po.



  1. Doc Gelo, in the DOLE Region XII, it is my sister who makes sure everything is complete and gives you your OEC, I believe it is her duty to smile to make things better for every OEC applicant, but sometimes, one word is not enough for the OFWs and it makes her frown just the same to tell the applicants over and over again the things they need to bring to be given the certificate, haaaayyy kaloka, but then again, in the service of the Filipino people, we should always try our very best to make things better, and lighter for all of us. Ika nga, huwag maging sagabal sa pag-unlad ng ibang tao.

  2. The trouble with public servants – well, with the government in general – is that they put so little value on OFWs when you people are the ones bringing serious money into the country! May mga tao talagang walang utang na loob…tsk…

    1. nakaka-high blood di ba marga? hehehe.. my patience is always tested when i am dealing with public authorities dyan sa atin. but i am not losing hopes on them; sana may pagbabago next time.

  3. My cousin who’s based in Penang was also getting the OEC the same day you were there. I always get mine from the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi. It takes me an average of 30 minutes to get the form. 🙂

  4. .. RANT – bagong category ito?!

    .. marami ang ganyan sa mga opisina ng gobyerno (sa bagay, kahit saan naman lupalop meron!) – pag nakakaencounter ako ng ganyan yung buong pasensya na meron ako sa pagkatao ko ginagamit ko, haha!

  5. Hindi naman nga lahat ng govt officials eh ganun. yun nga lang meron talaga and talagang mabubuwisit ka lalu na kung k aga-aga eh sisirain ng isang tao ang araw mo. tapos mahaba na nga ang pila mas lalo pa nilang pinapabagal. well minsan mabubuwisit ka din sa ibang tao hehehe

  6. Why does an OFW on a brief vacation to Pinas need an exit clearance? What “harm” can they do to the country on a short stay other than leave some of their hard-earned money behind?

    It is probably just an income generator for the government – sana naman ginagamit nila ito para sa kabutihan at biyaya ng mga hardworking OFW natin.

    1. for statistical purposes po. at may mga OFW po kc nagpupunta sa mga lugar na may “work ban” or may pending legal case sa pinas e baka takbuhan nila – that sort of stuff. 🙂

  7. docgelo, every time na uuwi ka pinas and you’ll be going back, you have to go through this process? nyak!

    tama yung friend mo, sayang ang isang araw na dapat kasama mo ang pamilya mo. and to think na usually, bilang na bilang ang mga vacation days ng mga OFWs! tsk tsk!

    PS. docgelo, baka dinaan mo sa ngiti yung old lady ha… he he!

    1. yup, ganoon na nga ang gawain ng mga bakasyonistang balik-manggagaw kada uuwi sa pinas. pero may multiple oec, i heard PhP 100 or 200 ata daw per oec *need to confirm.

  8. I sympathize to both you and the old lady. True nakakasira talaga ng araw pagnakakarinig o nakakakita ng hindi ayon sa position ng isang tao, talaga naman nakakairita if I was in your shoe. BUT doc Gelo, imagine she is doing the same old job God knows ’til when tapos simple instruction hindi maka follow, eh talaga naman nakaka igsi ng pisi yun. My point is people have different patience level, baka naman its not her day.

    RE:Demeanor of peeps towards people in the medical profession – eto true!!! John gets this all the time. Iba ang ibinigay na respeto ng ibang tao pag nalaman nila pag doctor ka. And some doctors abuse this unfortunately (roll eyes)

    1. i understand her (the old lady at the counter) too, ingrid.
      tell me about being impatient, hahaha!

      true that the 2 letters that come after our names signify some kind of status, pero para sa akin, titulo lang iyon. hindi umaakyat sa ulo ko at di ko inaabuso.

  9. Hahaha. Mapagsabihan nga ang mga yan! Considering na kung wala naman ang mga OFWs eh wala syang trabaho.

    Pero di naman lahat. I still believe na may mga gov’t employees pa rin na taus-puso (ang cheesy!) ang pag-serve sa public.

  10. Hahaha, how about ang Consulate dito, may lunch break, from 12 to 1, at marami ang naghihintay. Could you believe how much they could accomplish if they just take turns taking their lunch break, and even leave one window open.

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