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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, Feb 28) - The Philippine Embassy in Palau has started the process of registering undocumented Filipino workers through membership with the Philippine government agency that looks after overseas workers’ welfare.

The Philippine Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has deputized the embassy to start registering Philippine workers so they can avail of benefits.

A Philippine worker will have to pay US$25 to the embassy for Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s membership fee.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration membership includes insurance coverage, repatriation bond, scholarships, and business loans.

Filipino workers can renew their membership every two years.

Recently, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Director Andrelyn Gregorio was here to discuss the agency’s programs with Filipino workers.

Gregorio at the same time trained the embassy staff in implementing Overseas Workers Welfare Administration programs.

Marino [new Philippine ambassador to Palau, Ramoncito Marino] is encouraging Philippine workers who are not yet members of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to avail of its services.

He said the process will also help the Philippine government to get a more accurate number of Filipino workers here.

There are over 4,000 Filipinos in Palau but 95 percent of this figure is believed to be undocumented workers, Marino said.

Documented workers are those whose contracts of employment have been processed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration prior to their leaving the Philippines.

[PIR editor’s note: According to an article in last week’s Marianas Variety, Ambassador Marino said he will work with the Palau Division of Labor to help employers go through the proper channels when hiring Filipino workers, and emphasized that this system protects both employers and employees from illegal recruiters, as well as allow for proper screening of immigrant workers. The ambassador added that as a result there would also be a reduction in the number of undocumented Filipino workers in Palau.

Filipino workers make up the largest fraction of foreign workers in Palau (read the story).]

March 1, 2006

Marianas Variety:

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