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About Commission on Filipinos Overseas

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas is an agency under the Office of the President which was established on 16 June 1980 through Batas Pambansa (Republic Act) 79 to strengthen ties with Filipinos overseas and promote their interests in the Philippines and abroad.


The creation of the CFO can be traced over a series of enactments starting in 1974 with Presidential Decree No. 442, also known as the Labor Code of the Philippines. The decree provided for the creation of the Overseas Employment Development Board (OEDB) to set up a systematic program for overseas employment of Filipino workers, as well as to register and monitor emigrants leaving for various countries abroad.

With the steady increase in migration features, it became necessary for the institution of an independent unit which shall comprise the local support network solely for Filipino migrants.
Thus, in June 1978, Presidential Decree No. 1412 was passed, creating the Office of Emigrant Affairs (OEA). The decree specifically identified Filipinos who will be leaving the country as emigrants, as recipients of its services.
In June 1980, Batas Pambansa 79 was enacted to strengthen the policy on the promotion of migrant welfare and interest. It created the CFO, replacing OEA and simultaneously retaining the latter's mandate, and expanding its functions to include the formulation of policy recommendations to promote the welfare and interests of Filipinos overseas.

The work of CFO is guided by the following laws and executive and administrative orders:

* Batas Pambansa Bilang 79. An Act Creating the Commission on Filipinos Overseas and for Other Purposes (June 16, 1980)

* Executive Order No. 728. Retaining The Commission on Filipinos Overseas Under the Office of the President as a Critical Agency, Designating the Members of the Commission and Providing for the Organizational Guidelines of the Secretariat of the Commission (September 12, 1981)

* Executive Order No. 938. Establishing the Overseas Offices of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas Pursuant to Section 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 79 (March 2, 1984)

* Executive Order No. 498. Institutionalizing the Presidential Awards For Filipino Individuals And Organizations Overseas (December 19, 1991)

* Administrative Order No. 242. Further Reconstituting the Exchange Visitors Program Committee and Redefining its Functions (January 17, 1996)

* Executive Order No. 252. Establishing the Inter-Agency Committee on Philippine Schools Overseas, Defining its Composition, Structure, and Functions (May 5, 2000)

* Executive Order No. 343. Transferring the Commission on Filipinos Overseas from the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Office of the President (August 5, 2004)

* Executive Order No. 373. Reorganizing the Composition of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas Under the Office of the President (October 18, 2004)

* Executive Order No. 457. Designating the Commission on Filipinos Overseas as the Lead Agency for the Commemoration of the Centennial of Filipino Migration to Hawaii (August 23, 2005)

* Executive Order No. 550. Creating the Presidential Task Force NCLEX and addressing Concerns Arising from the Possible Conduct of NCLEX in the Philippines (July 31, 2006)

* Executive Order No. 548. Creating a Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment Under the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (August 1, 2006)

* Executive Order 548-A. Creating the Presidential Task Force Against Human Trafficking (February 9, 2007)

Batas Pambansa 79 mandates CFO to:

* Provide advice and assistance to the President and the Congress of the Philippines in the formulation of policies concerning or affecting Filipinos overseas;

* Develop and implement programs to promote the interests and well-being of Filipinos overseas;

* Serve as forum for preserving and enhancing the social, economic and cultural ties of Filipinos overseas with the Philippine motherland; and

* Provide liaison services to Filipinos overseas with appropriate government and private agencies in the transaction of business and similar ventures in the Philippines.

* Filipino emigrants and immigrants or permanent residents abroad;

* Filipinos overseas who have become citizens of other countries or dual citizens;

* Filipino spouses and other partners of foreign nationals leaving the country;

* Descendants of Filipinos overseas as defined in B.P. 79

* Filipino youth overseas; and

* Exchange Visitor Program participants


The work of CFO is conducted under a program framework of activities to serve Filipino communities overseas. This framework consists of the following four program areas:

* Migrant Social and Economic Integration

* Filipino Education and Heritage

* Filipino Unity and National Development

* Policy Development and Data Banking


CFO     POEA     OWWA     DFA
Clients     *emigrants
*spouses and other partners of foreign nationals
*permanent residents and immigrants overseas     *temporary migrants/ overseas Filipino workers or OFWs (documented or regular)     *temporary migrants/ overseas Filipino workers or OFWs (documented or regular)     *overseas Filipinos, whether permanent, temporary or irregular migrants
Functions     *promote the interests and welfare of Filipino immigrants
*encourage their assistance to Philippine development initiatives
*promote Filipino culture and heritage among overseas Filipinos     *process contracts and related documents for overseas employment
*regulate recruitment agencies
*coordinate with host governments for reasonable terms of employment     *conduct pre-departure seminars and trainings
*implement reintegration programs
*provide scholarship, livelihood and other services to overseas Filipinos and their families     *forge multi and bilateral agreements with host countries
*promote the political and economic interests of the Philippines overseas
*implement Assistance-to-Nationals program of the Philippine government

The clients of CFO are the permanent residents and immigrants overseas, including spouses and other partners of foreign nationals. The functions of CFO include promoting the interests and welfare of Filipino immigrants, encouraging their assistance to Philippine development initiatives, and promoting Filipino culture and heritage among overseas Filipinos.
POEA's clients are the overseas Filipino workers. The functions of POEA include processing of contracts and related documents for overseas employment, regulating recruitment agencies, and coordinating with host governments for reasonable terms of employment, among others.
OWWA's clients are the overseas Filipino workers who are documented or regular.
Some of its functions are the conduct of pre-departure seminars and trainings, implement reintegration programs, and provide scholarship, livelihood and other services to overseas Filipinos and their families.

Under the One Country Team Approach, the clients of DFA are the overseas Filipinos, whether permanent, temporary or irregular migrants. The functions of DFA include forging multi and bilateral agreements with host countries, promoting the political and economic interests of the Philippines overseas, and implementing Assistance-to-Nationals program of the Philippine government, among others.


The CFO is headed by a Chairman with cabinet rank, and representatives of the following departments:


* Department of Foreign Affairs as Vice-Chairman

* Department of Trade and Industry

* Department of Labor and Employment

* Department of Education

* Department of Justice

* Department of Tourism

* Office of the Press Secretary

* CFO Executive Director

The CFO is supported by a Secretariat headed by an Executive Director.


CFO has the following divisions to carry out programs, projects, and services in the interest of Filipinos overseas:

* Policy, Planning and Research Division - responsible for providing the CFO with effective and efficient planning, programming and project development services. It also initiates, coordinates, and implements the conduct of all relevant policy research and development work.

* Projects Management Division - responsible for the promotion and implementation of programs and projects for Filipinos overseas. It proposes and develops strategies and mechanisms to optimize program promotion and implementation.

* Migrant Integration and Education Division - responsible for implementing the registration and pre-departure programs and services as well as the public assistance and information program of the Commission. It also provides welfare support services to Filipino emigrants and other categories of migrating Filipinos.

* Administrative and Finance Division - responsible for efficient management of the Commission's human and financial resources. It is also responsible for various administrative, personnel, budgetary, financial, logistical and accounting services of the Commission.

* Management Information Systems Division - responsible for the development, establishment and maintenance of a computerized data banking and information system on Filipinos overseas in support of the policy functions of CFO. It also formulates plans, programs and procedures for effective database management and networking, as well as in support of the implementation of a Shared Government Information System for Migration.

New Programs

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Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar