SONA 2022 Promise Tracker


In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. highlighted the role of the newly formed Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) in improving the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The DMW didn’t disappoint Marcos. In the second half of 2022, the agency lifted the OFW deployment ban to Saudi Arabia and launched its One Repatriation Center, opening hotlines for repatriation, welfare and other concerns of distressed OFWs.

The agency is on track with Marcos’ plan of digitizing government processes. It developed and is set to launch a mobile application called OFW Pass, which OFWs can use to secure their digital identification  and access other government apps.

With the help of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), the DMW is eyeing the establishment of an electronic Business One-Stop Shop (eBOSS) to reduce the processing time for documents that OFWs need.

However, out of the four labor-related promises Marcos mentioned in his maiden SONA, none tackled the pressing issues that Filipino workers face today.

In a statement after the SONA in July last year, activist labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno lamented the president’s lack of plans to address contractualization and workers’ wages. This is despite Marcos previously expressing his intent to revisit the Security of Tenure or anti-endo bill when he was campaigning.

Find out more on how Marcos fared in his SONA promises related to labor:

Automate verification of contracts and issue secure Overseas Employment Certificates to migrant workers

Gagawin natin ito sa pamamagitan ng pag-aalis ng red tape sa sistema ng pagsusulong ng digital empowerment. We shall automate the verification of contracts and issue secure Overseas Employment Certifications (OEC) that you can keep on your smartphone. I call on the Department of Migrant Workers and the DICT to make this a top priority.

(SONA 2022)
  • The DMW is set to launch its digital application for OFWs once it is approved by the Department of Information and Communications Technology. Through the DMW Mobile Application, OFWs can now secure an OFW Pass that serves as their digital identity.
  • Although the OEC may be obtained only through onsite processes, DMW’s new mobile application provides an OFW Pass that will be secured online and remain valid until the expiration of the OFW’s working contract. This is different from an OEC, which is for a one-time use and good for only 60 days.
Reduce the processing of papers for overseas Filipino workers from three months to three weeks

Mula sa tatlong buwan ay gagawin na lang nating tatlong linggo para sa isang dayuhang employer na i-proseso ang mga papeles ng Pilipinong nais nitong kunin bilang empleyado. 

(SONA 2022)
  • There were no significant developments on DMW’s plans to reduce the processing time of documents for OFWS. However, on April 14, Migrant Workers Secretary Maria Susana Ople met with the Anti-Red Tape Authority on plans to establish an electronic Business One-Stop Shop (eBOSS).
  • This eBOSS aims to ensure the efficiency and digital accessibility of government processes required for Filipinos applying for work abroad.
Launch One Repatriation Command Center or ORCC for OFWs in distress and utilize DMW’s social media platforms to help OFWs

Para sa mga kababayan nating naiipit sa kaguluhan, inaabuso, at nanganganib ang buhay, ikinagagalak kong sa ilalim ng aking pamumuno, ay ilulunsad natin ang One Repatriation Command Center o ORCC. Ilalaan natin ang isang social media platform ng Department of Migrant Workers at ang hotline upang matulungan agad at mailigtas sila mula sa mas higit na kapahamakan.

(SONA 2022)
  • On July 20, days before Marcos’ first SONA, the DMW launched its One Repatriation Center to provide an immediate response to repatriation, welfare and other concerns of distressed OFWs.
  • In a social media post on April 21, the DMW and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) opened its hotline to provide assistance to OFWs and their kin affected by the armed clashes in Sudan.
  • On May 12, the DMW announced its hotlines were ready to assist Filipinos who will be affected by Kuwait’s decision to stop issuing new work and entry visas to Filipinos.
Coordinate with the Saudi Arabia government to reopen deployment opportunities for OFWs

Sa kasalukuyan ay nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa pamahalaan ng Saudi Arabia upang buksang muli ang deployment. Kaya natin, at gagawin natin, ang makipag-negosasyon na mabigyan ang ating mga kababayan doon ng tamang pasahod, at mapangalagaan ang kanilang karapatan at kapakanan.

(SONA 2022)
  • On Nov. 7, 2022, the government lifted the ban on the deployment of domestic workers to Saudi Arabia. Ople said that the resumption of deployment is a product of a joint consensus between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia after several months of negotiations.
  • Through a series of bilateral talks, the DMW and the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development agreed to adopt labor reform measures to protect the OFWs.
  • Among the labor reforms are the adoption of a joint alternative dispute settlement mechanism and a new employment contract with insurance coverage and a pre-termination clause that would allow a domestic worker to change employers before the end of the contract should they experience abuse, maltreatment or non-payment of salary.

Find out how Marcos Jr. fared in other sectors

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form or send it to VERA, the truth bot on Viber.

On Marcos’ lack of plans to address salary and contractualization issues

On automating contract verification and issuing secure OECs

On reducing the duration of the processing of papers for OFWs

On launching One Repatriation Command Center

On the lifting of OFW deployment ban to Saudi Arabia

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)