BY RAYMOND CALBAY
"To hear an OFW's cry for help, even in the dark."
This drives OFW Watch, a software tailored to serve overseas Filipinos. Whether you're an OFW based in the Middle East, Europe or anywhere else in the world, seeking assistance has been made much easier – and mobile.
Myrna Padilla knows exactly what OFWs go through, especially the everyday challenges they face. From spending 20 years overseas as a domestic helper in Hong Kong, she now heads Mindanao-based Mynd Consulting, the software company that developed OFW Watch.
Is your employer underpaying or physically abusing you? Are there health hazards in your workplace? When in distress, you can log on to the OFW Watch web component (www.ofwwatch.com). You can create your profile and flag your location (without publicly revealing your specifics) to alert concerned officials and even OFWs near you.
More than an app
Away from home and loved ones, OFWs often rely on one another. OFW Watch enables this in your cell phone – apart from calls and text messages. If you're using an Android phone, be sure to download the OFW Watch app. Some of the ways it can help OFWs are:
Browse for contact information of Philippine embassies worldwide. See complete addresses, phone numbers, emails, websites, and more. If you’re currently based in the country, also find regional Overseas Workers Welfare Administration branches.
Check a comprehensive listing of recruitment agencies. And verify if its license is valid, suspended, or delisted.
Use handy tools. Quickly convert exchange rates and translate common foreign words.
Read about common Q&A's. Such as warning signs that you’re dealing with an illegal recruiter. Also find the complete Philippine Overseas Employment Agency rules and regulations.
The app is still in Beta version and more development is still underway. Full integration with the website will be nice to see soon. But as it is right now, it already offers very useful information in an easy to use interface.
Download the app and recommend it to OFWs you know. Doing so will support OFW Watch and its call: “You will give us a very special gift. The power to help ourselves, and the power to help each other."
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