MANILA -- The government is working to have ID cards for Overseas Filipino Workers double as "temporary" passports, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Friday, responding to criticism.
The OFW IDs are mere wallet fillers since these are not machine-readable, ACTS-OFW party-list Rep. Aniceto "John" Bertiz III earlier said.
Bello said he would request Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to allow the use of the OFW IDs as "temporary" substitutes for lost passports.
The Department of Labor and Employment began distributing the IDs for free last December to serve as overseas employment certificates.
Bello said he halted the release following complaints from OFWs that they were being charged for the free IDs.
The labor chief denied that he had a personal tiff with Bertiz, who publicly criticized the OFW card program.
"Baka nabibigla lang si congressman. Kaibigan ko 'yan e," he said.
(Maybe he was just caught off guard. He's my friend.)