Overseas Workers Welfare Administration

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The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, or OWWA, is an agency attached to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It is the lead government agency tasked to protect and promote the welfare and well-being of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their dependents.

OWWA has 35 posts in 25 countries overseas and 17 regional welfare offices in the country to deliver its programs, benefits and services to the OFWs and their families.



OWWA was created through:

Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 537 (Annex A) Through the LOI signed by then President Ferdinand Marcos, a “Welfare and Training Fund for Overseas Workers” was created on 1 May 1977 in the DOLE. The said LOI provides social and welfare services to OFWs. Funds to offer services (like insurance coverage, social work assistance, legal assistance, placement assistance, cultural services, remittance services) come from earnings and welfare fund collections from Overseas Employment Development Board (OEDB), Bureau of Employment Services (BES), National Seaman Board (NSB) and other donations and contributions.

Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1694 (Annex B) To formalize LOA No. 537, Marcos signed PD No. 1964 on 1 May 1980 which created the Welfare Fund for Overseas also referred to as Welfund. This PD orders the transfer of all fund sources to Welfund and its administration by the Board of Trustees.

Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1809 (Annex C) To amend provisions of the PD 1964, Marcos signed PD 1809 on 16 January 1981. Amendments include government banks as depository banks for the Welfund; expanding number of members of the Board of Trustees, from 7 to 11; and administration of the Welfund by the Board of Trustees through a Secretariat.

Executive Order (EO) No.126 (Annex D) On 30 January 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino signed EO No. 126 to reorganize the Ministry of Labor and Employment. The Welfare Fund for Overseas Workers Administration or Welfund was renamed into Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Executive Order (EO) No. 195 (Annex E) On 13 August 1994, then President Fidel V. Ramos signed EO No. 195 providing Medical Care (MEDICARE) Program for OFWs and their dependents. It is a compulsory coverage for OFWs who are not covered by the Philippine Medical Care Program of Social Security System (SSS).

Republic Act (RA) 8042 (Annex F) Then President Ramos approved RA 8042 or the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995” on 7 June 1995. It strengthened OWWA's mandate and services for OFWs and their dependents and expanded the composition of the Board of Trustees.

Under Section 15 of this Act, OWWA shall undertake the repatriation of workers without prejudice to reimbursement by the responsible prinicipal or recruitment agency. In cases where the prinicipal or recruitment agency cannot be identified, all costs attendant to repatriation shall be borne by the OWWA. The Emergency Repatriation Fund, with an initial amount of PHP 100M was created and established under OWWA.

Section 17 establishes the Re-placement and Monitoring Center (RPMC) for returning Filipino migrant workers. The DOLE, OWWA and POEA were tasked to formulate a program to motivate migrant workers to plan for productive options like entry into highly technical jobs or undertakings, livelihood and entrepreneurial development, better wage employment, and investment of savings.

Section 21 establishes the Migrant Workers Loan Guarantee Fund to prevent unscrupulous illegal recruiters and loan sharks from taking advantage of workers who seek employment abroad. OWWA was tasked to develop financing schemes such as Pre-departure Loan and Family Assistance Loan for ready to leave OFWs and their families.

Section 32 states the addition of women to the OWWA Board of Trustees.

OWWA Omnibus Policies (Annex G) On 19 September 2003, the OWWA Board of Trustees passed the Resolution No. 038 to institute the Omnibus Policies of OWWA. The Board promulgated and codified the policies, rules and regulations on OWWA membership and its coverage, collection of contribution, and availment of benefits. Also included are the policies on fund managem, programs and services administration and corporate governance.

Republic Act (RA) 7111 (Annex H) RA 7111 is an act which establishes the Overseas Workers' Investment Fund to provide incentives to overseas workers, reduce foreign debt burden and for other purposes.

Executive Order (EO) No. 446 (Annex I) On 12 July 2005, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed EO No. 446 and tasked the Secretary of DOLE to oversee and coordinate the implementation of the initiatives for OFWs.


OWWA Fund is a single trust fund pooled from USD 25 membership contributions of foreign employers, land-based and sea-based workers, investment and interest income, and income from other sources.

The Logo was designed in 1981 by Paeng Asuncion. He used a Greek capital letter Delta, a triangle or pyramid symbolizing change.

The three major points of the triangle is coherent with the concept of “trinity” or the union of the government, OFWs and private sectors.

The colors red, blue and white represents the colors of the Philippine flag and emphasizes the true spirit of the world class Filipino workers.

The inner ring represents the world destinations of OFWs. The sun represents energy, life-giving force, warmth and sustenance. The rain serves as the sun's complement in the life-giving force. Both the sun and the rain represent the favorable and adverse conditions encountered by OFWs in their workplace. They also symbolize the gains and pains of OFWs and their families.


  • Carmelita S. Dimzon (current)
  • Marianito D. Roque (2004-2008)
  • Virgilio R. Angelo (2002-2004)
  • Wilhelm D. Soriano (1995-1998)/(2000-2001)
  • Eleuterio N. Gardiner (1998-2000)
  • David P. Corpin (1993-1995)
  • Atanacio V. Maronilla (1990-1993)

The Board of Trustees

OWWA is administered by the Board of Trustees through the Secretariat headed by the Administrator as the Chief Executive Officer and assisted by two Deputy Administrators.

The Board of Trustees is a tripartite policy-making body composed of 12 members representing the government, management and labor-OFW.

The Board of Trustees is composed of:

  • Rosalinda D. Baldoz- Secretary of Labor and Employment and Chairman
  • Carmelita S. Dimzon- Administrator and Vice-Chairman


  • Danilo P. Cruz- Undersecretary, DOLE
  • Jesus I. Yabes- Undersecretary, DFA
  • Hans Leo Cacdac- Administrator, POEA
  • Luz M. Cantor- Assistant Secretary, DBM
  • Gil S. Beltran- Undersecretary, DOF
  • Victorino F. Balais- Representative, Labor Sector
  • Rene Y. Soriano- Representative, Management Sector
  • Ermie L. Garon- Representative, Land-based Sector
  • Estrella D. Añonuevo- Representative, Women's Sector

Performance highlights

  • Most Outstanding OFW Family Year Award (MOFYA)
  • Pamaskong Salubong
  • Membership and insurance benefits
  • Social Services and family welfare assistance: Operations Center, Tuloy-aral Program, Repatriation Assistance (Airport Assistance, Halfway Home Accommodation, Medical/Rehab Services, Domestic/Transportation Fare)
  • Reintegration Program: OFW Family Circles (OFCs), Groceria Project
  • Education and Training Programs: Skills-for-Employment Scholarship Program (SESP), Seafarer's Upgrading Program (SUP), Bridging Program, Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP), Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS), Language and Culture Familiarization, OWWA Microsoft Tulay, Tuloy-Aral Project (TAP)

Programs and services

  • Social benefits: Disability and Dismemberment Benefit, Death Benefit, Burial Benefit
  • Education and training benefits:
    • Pre-Departure Education Program (PDEP)- Country Specific Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS), Comprehensive Pre-Departure Education Program (CPDEP)
    • Scholarships, Training and Incentive Programs
      • Scholarship and Incentive Programs for OFWs/Seafarers- Seafarer's Upgrading Program (SUP), Mariner's Dugtong-Aral (MDA), Incentive Program for Top 200 Maritime Cadets (Cadetship Program), Marine Educational Development Loan Program (MEDLOP)
      • Scholarship for Dependents- Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (OFWDSP), Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP)
      • Short-Term Training Programs for OFWs and Dependents- Skills-for-Employment Scholarship Program (SESP), Information Technology Program
  • Workers Welfare Assistance Program
    • On-Site Welfare Case Management
    • In-Country Welfare Case Management
  • Repatriation Program
  • Reintegration Program
    • Reintegration Preparedness (On-Site)
    • Reintegration (In-Country)




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