Office of the Social Welfare Attaché (OSWA)

The Office of the Social Welfare Attaché (OSWA), established under Republic Act No. 11299 in 2019, safeguards the rights and improving the condition of overseas Filipinos (OFs) and their families, especially those encountering difficulties. Positioned within the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the agency extends its services through Social Welfare Attachés (SWAtts) based in Philippine embassies and consulates across the globe. This initiative aims to provide a comprehensive range of support services, including psychosocial counseling, case management, advocacy, and community development, to address the challenges faced by OFs due to limited access to social services and vulnerability to various forms of abuse and exploitation.

Targeted primarily at the over 10 million Filipinos working abroad, OSWA seeks to fill a significant gap in service provision that existed prior to its establishment. Beneficiaries of this program include overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families who are in need of assistance due to legal, psychological, or financial distress. By collaborating with other government agencies and leveraging data-driven approaches, the agency offers a lifeline to OFWs, ensuring their rights are protected and their wellbeing is promoted. As such, OFWs can expect to receive a range of benefits from this office, including assistance in legal matters, repatriation efforts, securing financial aid, and access to psychosocial support services, among others. Through these efforts, OSWA not only contributes to the well-being of OFWs but also significantly impacts the Philippine economy and society by ensuring the continued flow of remittances and supporting the reintegration of OFWs into the community upon their return.

Credits: Philippine Embassy in Israel / Facebook

What is OSWA?

OSWA, instituted under Republic Act No. 11299 in 2019, functions under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Its core mission is to safeguard the rights and enhance the status of overseas Filipinos (OFs) and their families, focusing particularly on those in distress. It operates through Social Welfare Attachés (SWAtts) stationed in various Philippine embassies and consulates worldwide.

OSWA overview

Significance of the Agency

The Office of the Social Welfare Attaché protects over 10 million Filipinos working abroad (OFs). Prior to its establishment, OFs faced limited access to social services while being vulnerable to abuse, trafficking, and exploitation. OSWA, established in 2019 by Republic Act No. 11299, deploys specialized social workers (SWAtts) to address these challenges by providing targeted support like psychosocial counseling, case management, advocacy, and community development. Through collaboration with other agencies and data-driven approaches, the agency fills a critical service gap and improves the lives of OFs, significantly impacting the Philippine economy and society.

what is a social welfare attache

Legal Basis

The legal foundation for OSWA is Republic Act 11299, signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 17, 2019. This act underscores the government’s commitment to protecting its citizens abroad, facilitating the establishment of SWAtts to offer direct support and intervention for OFs.


OSWA provides a spectrum of benefits aimed at the well-being of OFs, including:

  • Psychosocial support and counseling for those affected by abuse, trafficking, and other forms of distress.
  • Assistance in legal matters, repatriation efforts, and securing financial aid.
  • Advocacy and representation in disputes with employers or government entities.
  • Information dissemination and referral services connecting OFs with essential support systems.
  • Community development initiatives to empower OFs and their families.

Eligibility / Qualifications

To avail of OSWA services, one must be an overseas Filipino worker or a family member of an OFW experiencing difficulties abroad. Priority is given to those facing legal, psychological, or financial distress.


Accessing OSWA’s services typically requires the following:

  • Valid identification documents of the OFW.
  • Proof of overseas employment (e.g., contract, visa, work permit).
  • Detailed account or report of the issue faced.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Benefit from OSWA

  • Identify the Nearest SWAtt Office: Locate the Philippine embassy or consulate with an SWAtt based on your current country of residence.
  • Prepare Necessary Documentation: Gather all relevant documents, including identification and proof of employment.
  • Submit a Request for Assistance: Contact the SWAtt office via email, phone, or in-person visit to request support.
  • Undergo Assessment: The SWAtt will assess your situation to determine the appropriate services or intervention needed.
  • Receive Services: Engage in the recommended support services, which may include counseling, legal assistance, or repatriation efforts.
  • Follow-up: Maintain communication with the SWAtt for updates or further assistance.

Success Stories / Recent Updates

HCDC hosts Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) XI’s two-day Meet and Greet

The Holy Cross of Davao College’s Institute of ASEAN-European Studies (IAES) recently hosted the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) XI’s two-day Meet and Greet. The event brought together representatives from various organizations to discuss the expanded mandate of the newly-formed DMW in safeguarding the rights and well-being of overseas Filipino workers. The DMW plans to continue engaging with stakeholders to improve the lives of OFWs in the coming months.

Reymund Endaya’s Journey from Malaysia to the Philippines

Reymund Endaya, who had been working in Johor, Malaysia for 7 years, unfortunately, had his contract not renewed. He sought assistance from the Philippine Embassy where the Social Welfare Attaché provided him with housing, food, and free transportation back to the Philippines. Reymund successfully returned to the Philippines in November 2021.

OWWA Welfare Officer Provides Support to Distressed Filipinos in Israel

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Welfare Officer, Dina Ponciano, assisted a fellow Filipino who required medical repatriation due to severe mental stress. Additionally, Dina visited Joey Pagsolingan, an injured Filipino recovering at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) team, led by Labor Attache Rodolfo Gabasan, also traveled to Afula to meet with Filipino Community leaders, provide relief goods, and offer psychosocial counseling to distressed kababayans. Furthermore, Ms. Anna Oidem, a social worker from the DMW Augmentation Team, provided counseling to the wife of a Filipino victim of the Hamas attacks, who recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy.


Video: Kabayang Lingkod: Social Welfare Attaché ng Philippine Embassy sa Riyadh

Get to know our dedicated #KabayangLingkod, Ms. Rose Alvarez, as she takes on the responsibility of Social Welfare Attaché at our Embassy in Riyadh. With her expertise and commitment, she is ready to serve and support our fellow Filipinos in Saudi Arabia.



The OSWA embodies the Philippine government’s dedication to ensuring the wellbeing of its overseas citizens. By providing essential services and support, it aids in addressing the challenges faced by OFs, reaffirming their invaluable contribution to the nation’s economic and social fabric. Through this agency, OFWs and their families are assured of a helping hand in times of need, reinforcing the collective effort to protect and empower every Filipino, wherever they may be in the world.

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