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OWWA was created through:

Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 537 (Annex A)
A "Welfare and Training Fund For Overseas Workers" was created on 01 May 1977 in the Department of Labor through a Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 537 signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. This LOI provides social and welfare services to Filipino overseas workers including insurance coverage, social work assistance, legal assistance, placement assistance, cultural services, remittance services, and the like. Sources of Funds comes from earnings and welfare fund collections from Overseas Employment Development Board (OEDB), Bureau of Employment Service (BES), National Seaman Board (NSB) and other donations, contributions.

Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1694 (Annex B)
President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed a Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1694 on 01 May 1980, formalizing the LOI No. 537, which created the Welfare and Training Fund For Overseas Workers, into Welfare Fund for Overseas Workers or referred to as Welfund. This PD orders the transfer of all fund sources to the Welfund and its administration by the Board of Trustees.

Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1809 (Annex C)
On 16 January 1981, President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed PD No. 1809 amending certain provisions of the PD No. 1694. Amendments include government banks as depository banks for the Welfund; expanding number of members of the Board of Trustees, from 7 to 11; and administration of the Welfund by the Board of Trustees through a Secretariat.

Executive Order (EO) No. 126 (Annex D)
President Corazon C. Aquino signed an Executive Order No. 126 on 30 January 1982 reorganizing the Ministry of Labor and Employment and for other purposes. Under Section XIX. Attached Agencies, item f., the Welfare Fund For Overseas Workers administration or Welfund was renamed into Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Executive Order (EO) No. 195 (Annex E)
President Fidel V. Ramos signed an Executive Order No. 195 on 13 August 1994 providing Medical Care (MEDICARE) Program for Filipino overseas workers and their dependents. It is a compulsory coverage for those Filipino overseas workers not covered by the Philippine Medical Care Program of SSS.

Republic Act (RA) 8042 (Annex F)
Republic Act 8042 or known as the "Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995" was approved by President Fidel V. Ramos on June 7, 1995. This Act strengthened OWWA's mandate and services for OFWs and their dependents and expanded the composition of the Board of Trustees.

Under Section 15 of this Act, OWWA, in coordination with appropriate agencies, shall undertake the repatriation of workers in cases of war, epidemics, disasters or calamities, natural or man-made, and other similar events without prejudice to reimbursement by the responsible principal or recruitment agency. However, in cases where the principal or recruitment agency cannot be identified, all costs attendant to repatriation shall be borne by the OWWA. For this purpose, an Emergency Repatriation Fund, initially in the amount of Php100M was created and established under the administration, control and supervision of OWWA.

Section 17 establishes the Re-placement and Monitoring Center or RPMC for returning Filipino migrant workers wherein the DOLE, OWWA and POEA were tasked to formulate a program that would motivate migrant workers to plan for productive options such as entry into highly technical jobs or undertakings, livelihood and entrepreneurial development, better wage employment, and investment of savings.

Section 21 establishes a Migrant Workers Loan Guarantee Fund in order to further prevent unscrupulous illegal recruiters and loan sharks from taking advantage of workers seeking employment abroad. OWWA, in coordination with government financial institutions was tasked to develop financing schemes i.e., Pre-departure Loan and Family assistance Loan for ready to leave Filipino overseas workers and their families.

Section 32 states the additional membership to the OWWA Board of Trustees coming from women sector.

OWWA Omnibus Policies (Annex G)
OWWA Board of Trustees passed a Resolution No. 038 on 19 September 2003 instituting the Omnibus Policies of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. The Board promulgated and codified the policies, rules and regulations to provide guidelines on OWWA membership and its coverage, collection of contribution, and availment of benefits. It also embodied the policies on fund management, programs and services administration and corporate governance.

Republic Act (RA) 7111 (Annex H)
RA 7111 an Act establishing the Overseas Workers' Investment Fund to provide incentives to overseas workers, reduce the foreign debt burden, and for other purposes was approved by President Corazon C. Aquino on 22 August 1991.

Executive Order (EO) No. 446 (Annex I)
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed an Executive Order No. 446 on 12 July 2005 tasking the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment to oversee and coordinate the implementation of various initiatives for OFWs.

Memorandum of Instruction No. 002 Series of 2015
Procedures and Guidelines for Monitoring the Compliance of PDOS Providers

Memorandum of Instruction No. 007 Series of 2015
Supplemental Guidelines in the Conduct of the Arabic Language Training Course for Household Service Workers Bound for Middle East, Except the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Republic Act 10801

Memorandum of Agreement between OWWA and University of the Philippines (UP) Re R.A. 10801