Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pre-departure Orientation (CFO Seminar)

D suddenly told me one day that I had to attend some seminar before I could even leave the Philippines. He said that one of his colleague’s wife had been asked to go to the said seminar, and the same thing may apply to me. He also mentioned some PHP650+ fee that I need to pay them in order for me to have an affixed sticker on my passport so that I’ll be allowed to fly. At first I didn’t understand what the hell was going on, but after much research, he was actually referring to the Commission of Filipinos Overseas (CFO) seminar (more about my experience later).

So what’s this about?

This commission was created in order to have records of Filipino Emigrants who wish to settle abroad permanently. This seminar is applicable to those who will acquire permanent residence, including children (eg. Green card or LPR for US, etc), those married or will marry foreign nationals who reside abroad (most of which are female).

In my case, my husband’s really Filipino by birth and spent a quarter (or more) of his life in the Philippines. However, since he got naturalized to another citizenship, he is now considered an “alien” or foreigner already. Thus, I really needed to attend the legally mandated seminar also known as the Pre-departure orientation.
If you think you can get away with this, just think of the actual day that you will be flying abroad without the CFO. Think of the immigration officer actually denying your entry to your gate, which is just a few meters from the plane you will be riding that day. 
 image c/o Philstar

Think of all the hassles of arguing only to find out in the end that you will really never gonna step on that very plane that will take you to your milk and honey. Think about the money you already spent on that wasted ticket.

It's not a pretty sight (and a frustrating one, at that).

There are no exceptions to the case because immigration officers will check your visa, and if it turns out to be an immigrant visa (of any country), they will next look for the CFO sticker and affixed green certificate on the pages of your passport, and if they don’t see it, just kiss that flight goodbye, and they will only let you aboard once you have the sticker and the certificates to show them.
FYI, CFO seminar is actually mandated by RA 79 and other laws governing this.

In other words, there is no other choice. The seminar is specifically designed or targeted to inform a lot of migrating women on what they may expect in case something bad happens to their marriage, not because something bad will happen. Registered individuals can also contact shelters that ACTUALLY exist for any sort of immediate assistance needed.

Who are required to get registered with CFO?
(click on the links below for info, as requirements may vary):

In my case, numero uno is applicable for me.
There are actually 2 venues for my seminar:  St. Mary Euphrasia Foundation - Center for Overseas Workers (SMEF-COW) and at People’s Reform Initiative for Social Mobilization, Inc. (PRISM).

Contact details:

2nd Floor BDO Building, 2422 Taft Avenue
Tel. Nos.: (632) 525-3114, (632) 525-3783, (632) 525-4314
Fax No.: (632) 5253114
E-mail: prism_inc06@yahoo.com.ph

Good Shepherd Convent, 1043 Aurora Boulevard
Quezon City, Philippines 1108
Tel. No.: (632) 913-6439
Fax No.: (632) 913-6438
E-mail: smef_cow@yahoo.com.ph
Website: www.smef-cow-phil.org

It would be best to call them first for schedules, requirements, etc. and the staff would be happy to help. Let me tell you about my experience next time once I receive my immigrant visa.

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