Interview with employer, check. Medical exam, check. Submission of requirements, check.
Everything is complete and according to plan and the question now is when are you leaving. Before you leave the country, there is one step you need to do first: attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar or PDOS.
Do I have to? Why is it necessary? How long will the seminar take? What will I learn from there?
These are some of the many questions this post will answer, so make sure to read until the end.
What is PDOS?
It all started in the early 80s. By virtue of POEA MC No. 3, Series of 1983, the Philippine government made PDOS or the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar mandatory for all Filipinos working overseas. Up to this day, PDOS is a required one-day only seminar for all first-time Filipino workers of all skills leaving the country for overseas work.
The purpose of PDOS is to:
- Provide OFWs with means and information to help cope with their new working environment, which are crucial during the first six months from deployment.
- Addresses the basic needs and concerns for all OFWs, including adjustment difficulties.
- Inform OFWs on who to call and what to do in case something happened abroad.
PDOS is country-specific and at times, skills-specific to ensure that you will be prepared by the time you were deployed. At present, PDOS is conducted by OWWA.
What are the modules involved?
- Working Overseas – This tackles the cultural insights, Code of Discipline for OFWs, and religious policies of specific countries among others.
- Employment Contract – It will discuss your rights and responsibilities as OFW, which must be embodied in your employment contract, as well as what to do in case of breach or violation of the terms in the contract.
- Government Programs and Services – This includes both in-country and overseas services of the government, specifically the OWWA.
- Important Reminders – This includes tips on financial planning, health tips, and tips when travelling.
What about PDOS for Seafarers?
The Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar for Seafarers are, although mandatory, a bit different compared to other skilled workers. Modules include:
- Government Programs and Services – Specifically OWWA services and other government-agencies involved in migration.
- Standard Employment Contract – This will outline your rights and responsibilities as an OFW-seafarer as well as what to do in case of violation.
- Financial Management – This will discuss financial planning and the importance of savings and investment.
- Personal Health and Safety for Seafarers
- Coping with Work and Living Conditions – This will tackle working hours and how to work in a multi-cultural environment
- Travel Guide Do’s and Don’ts
What if you are rendering household work services? Instead of PDOS, Household Service Workers (HSWs) have their own version of PDOS called Comprehensive Pre-Departure Education Programs or CPDEP.
This was established in 2007 and the purpose is not just to uphold and protect every HSW’s welfare but also to prepare them to stressful work conditions and environment while living in a foreign household.
Modules for CPDEP includes:
- Stress Management Seminar – This increases awareness among HSWs on causes of stress and its effects, mentally and emotionally prepare HSWs when facing challenges while working abroad, and the importance of having coping strategies and help in building new coping mechanisms.
- Language and Culture Training – This will cover language courses for Arabic, Cantonese, Hebrew, Italian, and Mandarin.
- Modules covered in the regular PDOS
Is it for free?
The answer is yes, although you are still required to pay $25 OWWA membership fee.
Make sure you call OWWA hotline at (02) 891-7601 to ask for a schedule of country-specific PDOS. This is also on a first come, first serve basis, so make sure you ask for a schedule that is appropriate to your country destination.
At the end of the seminar, you will be given a Certificate of Completion, which you must also present at the airport upon departure.
More than the PDOS, it is imperative that you keep yourself informed about the country you’re going to. Make sure to read our OFW Guide to give you an idea on the living and working conditions in your country destination.
You can check out this PDF file to know more about PDOS.