The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Washington DC serves as the implementing arm of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), to ensure that the rights and working conditions of Filipino workers in the United States and the Caribbean are protected and that their welfare and interest are promoted.
To achieve this end, the following are POLO’S functions:
a. P– romotion and protection of the rights and welfare of the OFWs.
POLO shall exercise exclusive verification and delegated accreditation powers.
i. Verification refers to the procedure undertaken by the Labor Attaché to ensure that all employment rights, benefits and welfare of Filipino migrant workers at the worksite/place of employment are duly protected and respected. As such, the Labor Attaché shall ensure that the employment contracts of the OFWs are consistent with the prevailing employment laws, standards and practices in both the Philippines and the host country and that the documentary requirements for overseas employment for overseas employment as required by the POEA are complied with.
ii. On the other, while Accreditation is the original and exclusive authority of the Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration, this authority may be delegated to the POLO in countries/territories where it has jurisdiction.
Such power shall necessarily include suspension of verification and accreditation of employers and / or principals.
iii. Issuance of OEC (Overseas Employment Certificates) for returning workers/workers on leave or BALIK MANGGAGAWA.
iv. Application/Renewal of OWWA membership. OFWS may register or renew their OWWA membership on-site.
In addition, it shall make policy recommendations to ensure optimum working conditions of Filipino workers in the United States and Caribbean;
b. O-versee the implementation of Philippine labor policies and programs as well as observance of the labor laws of the host country
POLO shall be guided by the principles and provisions of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 as amended by RA 10022 and its implementing rules and guidelines, Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended, POEA Rules and Regulations, consistent with the rules of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and OWWA Omnibus Rules and other pertinent rules and issuances.
As such, POLO shall have jurisdiction over the following issues, to wit:
1. Violation of work contracts, conditions of employment such as non-payment or underpayment of wages and other benefits
2. Violations of POEA rules
3. Medical and hospital assistance
4. Repatriation of workers
5. Human trafficking for labor exploitation /trafficking in persons/illegal recruitment and allied cases
6. Other requests, including non-performance by workers of their family obligations
c. L-ink between the employer/staffing agencies/ recruitment agencies and the employees in the implementation of /execution of contracts of employment while in the host country.
Whenever applicable, POLO shall conciliate any complaint involving Filipino worker, licensed recruitment agency or principal/employer relating to overseas employment. In case of money claims the same shall be conciliated in accordance with Single Entry Approach (SENA)
d. O-rganization of community-based activities, trainings and seminars geared towards addressing and minimizing the vulnerabilities of OFWs.
POLO through OWWA shall conduct continuing program toward OFW skills trainings and upgrading, capability-building seminars, and reintegration preparedness.
During disasters and emergencies, POLO, In coordination with the Philippine Embassy, shall undertake relief and rescue operations to assist Filipino workers in distress and during crises.