14 days before Christmas!!! Just like the shopping rush in malls, Filipinos here in Singapore who will be going home to spend the holidays with their family( lucky you! bitter lang ang peg :D ) are also rushing to the Philippine Embassy to secure their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).
An OEC by the way, exempts an OFW in paying the Philippine travel tax and terminal fee(Php 550.00) when going out of the country.
Now as on OFW, ( yes! feel na feel ) I took my part in visiting our embassy to get my OEC for my January vacation (excited?!). My friend and I found out from their website http://www.philippine-embassy.org.sg that the Philippine government had already launched the Balik-Manggagawa OEC Appointment System. Sounds cool! The link would direct you to an application form where you get to select a preferred Date and Time for the appointment and also the OFW's personal and employer information.
Since the embassy is closed during Saturdays, we took the Sunday, December 9, 2:00PM schedule. Going to the embassy is a bit complicated for a first-timer, so I took a cab going to Philippine Embassy which is located at 20 Nassim Road.
Having online appointment will keep you from queuing to get a number. I go directly to the left side of the embassy where requests, contracts and payments are processed in each respective windows. The place was jam-packed with Pinoys trying to accomplished their documents. You can feel you're back home.
Here are the documents that you need to bring:
- original passport
- employment pass card
- OEC online-appointment form
- OWWA certificate
In my case I forgot to bring my OWWA cert, thanks to the friendly service of the woman from window 2A where she verified my file from their database. Life-saver! :)
I paid 9 SGD for the 3 OEC I requested (3 SGD each), which is now cheaper compared to its previous price of 5 SGD. Another good news there! Requesting multiple OEC is practical, as it is valid for one year from the date of request. Then I was required to pay another 5.50 SGD for the HDMF contribution. Overall I only paid 14.50 SGD. And got my OEC in more or less 45 minutes considering the hassle of not bringing my OWWA paper. Not bad huh! My friend got his OEC in less than 20 minutes. Great!
I couldn't argue enough. I had a good first-time experience at the Philippine embassy. Good job on this Appointment System initiative guys!