Pope John Paul II, in his message for the 1992 World Migration Day said, “Migration related to underdevelopment is a challenge, which we must face with courage and determination.” In the Philippines, underdevelopment and poverty are the main causes of migration within and from the country. It was in the early 1900s that the Filipino people started their plight in search for greener pastures in foreign lands.
In 1972, the promising new labor market, prompt the Filipino government to formally adopt the Overseas Employment Program (OEP) as a “temporary measure” to alleviate the unemployment problems in the Philippines. The Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration (POEA), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), was established in 1982 by virtue of Executive Order No. 797. The formulation and implementation of a systematic and progressive overseas employment scheme taking cognizance of local demands for labor, was the main reason for the creation of the POEA. Today, POEA, is tasked with the promotion, supervision, monitoring and managing overseas employment. All cases involving employer-employee relationship (particularly money claims arising from contractual relation entered by Filipino workers), is the original and exclusive jurisdiction of this agency.
The Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) is the government agency also under the Department of Labor and Employment, tasked to protect the interest and promote the well being of Filipino overseas contract workers, including their dependents. It was created as a Welfare Fund on May 1, 1977 administered by a Secretariat by virtue of PD No. 1604 and 1809. The Welfare Fund was renamed OWWA by virtue of Executive Order (EO) No. 126 on January 30, 1987. What started, as a “temporary measure” has, in fact, become a well established part of the economic policy.
The government creates a “damage control measure”, Republic Act No. 8042,...