Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dad's Review - New & stupid procedure for OEC at POEA, Trinoma Mall

Update as of: 13 July 2015

I went back to POEA Trinoma to inquire about the requirements of "Balik Mangagawa" for non-compliant countries. I noticed that they only process or evaluate the documents of those with online appointment done through "Balik Manggagawa" website. Payment is also coursed through a nearby Western Union with additional minimal transaction charge. Your payment will be posted on your transaction account on their website. 

They don't entertain walk-in OEC applicants anymore. You will be asked to return the following day if you have no online appointment for that day.

By the way, the guy who used to bully the applicants is not there anymore. Hence, no worries in applying for your OEC anymore as long as you have valid working visa; no need to bring unnecessary documents.

All online OEC application procedures are posted inside their Trinoma office and on BM website. You can register on their site: BM Online

POEA Trinoma along North Avenue

Update as of 17 July 2014:

 I transferred to another company in Yemen last year and after a probationary period of 6 months I got my work visa from my new employer. Hence, after changing my employer on POEA main office database last April I returned back to POEA Trinoma Mall a few days back to process my OEC. I have good news, the guy that used to harass those OFW applying for OEC is now gone. The new evaluator upon seeing my previous records on their computer immediately approved my OEC application without further ado. Moreover, I got my Pag-ibig number from here as well.

After POEA opened its satellite office at Service Avenue, Trinoma Mall, I opted to process my Balik Manggagawa Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) here due to its proximity to our residence and faster service. More so, you can come here either by appointment system through their website or by walk-in. However, priority will be given to those with appointment form.

I used to process my OEC at POEA main office even though it was very inconvenient to travel from San Mateo area to Ortigas Avenue. Not to mention the usual queue of hundreds and sometimes thousands of OFW processing their OEC's as well.

Thus, after POEA Trinoma has opened I never went back to POEA main office for my OEC. By the way, you'll find this POEA's satellite office along North Avenue side near the covered parking entrance at lower ground level.

The procedure is simple as long as you have a valid residence/working visa and exit/re-entry to the country where you are working. Just present your passport and fill-up the data sheet within 15 minutes you will have your OEC; just make sure that you will be at POEA Trinoma before 10 am. 

In my case, due to my job rotation of 4 weeks/4 weeks, the lady staff even offered me a multiple pass whenever I went there to process my OEC. I refused the multiple pass/OEC since I wanted to have a valid reason to go out whenever I am on vacation, LOL.

However, this morning, a new guy was at the evaluation desk of POEA Trinoma. He meticulously checked my passport page by page; he even asked me to show him my valid visa since my old visas were confusing him. He then checked their record on the computer after I told him that I have been processing my OEC here since last year.

After a while he demanded that I make photocopies of my passport, residence visa, exit/re-entry and arrival stamp of the immigration. I complained and even told him that I have never submitted any photocopy of my valid visa even when I was processing my OEC at POEA main office due to obvious reason that I have proper and valid documents. I even emphasized that I was using the same residence visa and exit/re-entry during my previous visits at POEA Trinoma. He never accepted any of my reason leaving me no option but to search for photocopying services inside Trinoma Mall. He even had the guts to show me several OFW info sheets pending on his table waiting for photocopied supporting documents as well

While searching for a photocopying service, I was directed by the security guard to National Bookstore. Unfortunately, NB's photocopying services would open at 11 am; I couldn't waste an hour just waiting for their photocopying service to open. By luck, I remembered Netopia Internet Cafe at the second floor thus I was able to have my documents photocopied and I hurriedly went back to POEA Trinoma.

In short, I was able to get my OEC after almost an hour.

I don't know why POEA is accepting nincompoops in their midst, to say it bluntly. Pardon my words since it was pretty obvious that he was trying to make the lives of other OFW harder by asking stupid supporting documents or perhaps he was not qualified to check the documents submitted to him for evaluation. I can't see any logic why he needs to demand additional photocopied documents due to the following reasons:

    1. I have a valid passport
    2. I have a valid residence visa
    3. I have a valid exit/re-entry
    4. My expired (previous) residence visas and exit/re-entries were still attached to my passport.
    5. My previous OEC transactions at POEA Trinoma were appearing on their computer record.
    6. I am registered in the same company and I am going back to the same country basing on their  records and my existing documents.

Supporting papers should be submitted only in case you have a questionable travel documents. This is the reason why the POEA staffs at the main office and the previous lady at POEA Trinoma evaluation desk never asked me for any other supporting documents whenever I process my OEC.

This kind of government employee should immediately undergo proper training so as he would be able to distinguish a properly documented OFW thereby avoiding unnecessary inconveniences and expenses to the poor and hard working OFW.

29 August 2013

My wife and I went to POEA at Trinoma Mall this morning to process my OEC. The same guy was at the evaluation desk. When he called me I wanted to tell me him that I intend to give my documents to the other evaluator but I didn't have any choice, wife was pushing me to proceed.

In short, I handed him my passport; I have photocopied my visas and other passport's pages as preparation in case I would be asked to produce them again. The guy returned my passport and asked me to show him my visa. I showed him the page where my new residence and exit/re-entry visas were pasted; both of them were issued last month (July 2013). He checked both documents and asked me regarding the validity of my exit/re-entry. I told him that my exit/re-entry was valid for 6 months starting from its date of issue which was July 23 2013. Actually, the validity was written on Arabic and the lady manning the evaluator's desk before seemed to know how to read Arabic thus it wasn't a big deal before. Even the staff at the POEA main office can interpret Arabic numbers.

He conferred with the other older and bald (no offense meant to that guy) evaluator beside him. Fortunately, the other guy told him that he should only validate the residence visa and my OFW info sheet against their computer record; these are enough to prove that I am a documented worker according to the other evaluator. The poor guy looked stupid in front of us. Notwithstanding the rebuke he received from his colleague, he continued to check my worn-out passport page by page without telling me what he was trying to prove or see. I didn't know what was playing inside his mind or he simply wanted to intimidate or bully me. He looked like a traffic enforcer waiting for bribe. Fortunately, as a professional oil and gas worker, I have long experience in dealing with different nationalities having different company positions thus this guy, whom I am paying the salary, would find it impossible to make me cow in fear.

There is really no cure for stupidity. Anyhow, I got my OEC under 15 minutes perhaps because there was another evaluator beside him probably his senior preventing him to bully the OEC applicants.