What is CFO – Commission on Filipinos Overseas

Many Filipinos working abroad are lucky to migrate as permanent residents or naturalized citizens of other countries. Although fortunate to live overseas, some may require assistance to ensure their rights, welfare, and safety. Meanwhile, some Filipinos found luck abroad and are willing to give back to their homeland. That’s why the Philippine government founded the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). If you want to learn more about this agency, read on as we share the CFO’s history, functions, programs, and services.

Since the CFO aims to promote and protect Filipinos’ rights, welfare, and interests overseas, the agency creates programs, projects, and policies for them. It also encourages and speeds up the significant role of Filipinos abroad in the cultural, economic, political, and social progress of the Philippines. Furthermore, it links them to their homeland through education and information programs. Most of all, the CFO helps Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and migrants to reintegrate into the Philippines, a vital agency for all Filipinos living abroad.

cfo commission on filipinos overseas

What is the Commission on Filipinos Overseas

Formerly known as the Office of Emigrant Affairs (OEA), the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) is a government-owned and controlled agency in the Philippines under the Office of the President. It is mandated to promote and protect the rights, welfare, and interests of Filipinos living abroad. CFO also aims to strengthen the ties of Filipinos overseas to their homeland.

In addition, the agency aids technology transfer, material, and financial contributions outside the country, aimed at developing impoverished communities all over the Philippines. The agency registers and offers emigrants pre-departure orientation seminars. It also allows younger generations of Filipinos abroad to learn the history and culture of the Philippines.


The presence of the CFO dates back to 1974, during the enactment of Presidential Decree No 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines, which resulted in the creation of the Office of Emigrant Affairs (OEA) and Overseas Employment Development Board, or POEA, now known as the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Founded on June 16, 1980, the enactment of Batas Pambansa 79 led to the establishment of the CFO.

It’s a Philippine government agency entrusted to advocate and support the rights, welfare, and rights of Filipinos residing abroad. Apart from that, the agency reinforces the ties of overseas Filipinos to their motherland. Since it replaced OEA, the CFO took over and widened its functions and mandate. Under the enacted decree, the services of the CFO are specifically for Filipino emigrants.


The CFO visualizes a Filipino community abroad composed of competitive and well-respected individuals with significant contributions to the welfare and productiveness of the countries where they work or live while preserving strong cultural, economic, and political ties with their motherland.


The purpose of the CFO is to become the leading institution in the Philippines that promotes projects, programs, and policies with Migration and Development as a foundation to empower ang strengthen the community of Filipinos abroad.


As per the Batas Pambasa Blg. 79, here are the primary clientele of the CFO:

  • Filipinos who are permanent residents or migrants overseas
  • Filipinos abroad who became naturalized or dual citizens of other countries
  • Filipino spouses and other partners of foreign nationals departing the Philippines
  • Filipino youth abroad
  • Participants of Filipino Au Pair
  • Participants of the Exchange Visitor Program
  • Descendants of Filipinos abroad as specified in Batas Pambansa Blg. 79


Under the Batas Pambansa Blg. 79, the CFO is mandated to execute the following functions:

  • Create and perform programs that promote the welfare and interest of Filipinos abroad
  • Assist the Congress and the President of the Philippines in developing policies and measures for Filipinos abroad.
  • Acts as a forum to enhance and preserve the cultural, economic, and social ties of Filipinos abroad with the Philippines
  • Links Filipinos abroad with concerned government and private agencies in the Philippines in business transactions or other similar ventures
CFO Commission on Filipinos Overseas logo

CFO Quality Policy Statement

As pursuant to its mandate and responsibilities, the CFO is committed to performing the following:

  • Entrust the people by providing constant professional development based on social responsibility
  • Develop policies and expedite citizen-based and quality services and programs, exceeding the public’s expectations
  • Enhance the migration benefits of Filipinos abroad by encouraging them to become development partners of the Philippines and their host countries

CFO Goals

Apart from its functions, the CFO has the following goals:

  • Promote consistent, logical, and synchronized development policies recognized by the government policy-making process
  • Aid and boost an agreeable right-based policy environment to promote and protect overseas Filipinos’ rights, welfare, and interests
  • Streamline socio-economic development assistance by developing, implementing, and collaborating with other government agencies.
  • Help Filipinos migrate to another country by preparing them for the realities of international migration.
  • Assist returning Filipinos and their families who have lived abroad to reintegrate into the Philippines.

CFO Programs & Services

BalikBayan: Overseas Filipinos’ One Stop Online Portal for Diaspora Engagement

The BaikBayan is a program from the CFO that aims to link Filipinos abroad to economic and social development projects in their homeland and its local sites. This program allows 24/7 connection to Filipinos abroad anywhere in the world. It functions as a one-stop online portal, enabling Filipinos living abroad to partake in the productivity and welfare of the Philippines.

Under this program, Filipinos abroad can access various opportunities to collaborate with the local and national governments in starting a business. BalikBayan also facilitates volunteering and donations and provides access to online government services.

CFO-SIS (Sa Iyong Sulok): Itanong mo kay SIS!

This program is a free mobile and web-based counseling and advice service for Filipinos overseas. It provides free coaching, counseling, and consultation with the help of participating counseling specialists from various fields. With the CFO-SIS program, Filipinos abroad can access counseling from licensed life coaches and counselors through mobile messaging apps like Facebook, Viber, and WhatsApp. Also, it’s available 24/7 and ensures all the data is confidential and private.

Community Education Program (CEP)

CEP is a communication program co-organized by various government agencies, local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), and academic institutions. This program aims to connect prospective migrants and assist them in making wise decisions regarding working or living permanently abroad. Its goal is to enhance community involvement in migration matters and increase the public’s consciousness regarding migration.

Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking – Advocacy and Communications Committee (IACAT-ADVOCOM)

The IACAT-ADVOCOM uses strategies to engage and mobilize different target groups and stakeholders, such as local, national, and foreign government agencies. It also targets media institutions, migrant associations, and civil society, international, and non-government organizations. Furthermore, the IACAT-ADVOCOM aims to perform the following:

  • Administer a broad communication and advocacy strategy to assist in the eradication of human trafficking and promote government services beneficial to survivors of trafficking
  • Publish materials and create multimedia campaigns to increase awareness of the issues concerning human trafficking and promote services for trafficking victims.
  • Perform training to promote involvement in anti-trafficking campaigns
  • Administer initiatives to boost advocacy on anti-trafficking and the presence of the IACAT-ADVOCOM

Itanong Mo Kay Ato!

The program “Itanong Mo Kay Ato!” is made possible with the collaboration of the CFO and the Arellano Law Foundation. It’s an online legal consulting service that addresses various issues on illegal recruitment, human trafficking, and mail-order spouse schemes. This program aims to provide convenient and accessible legal advice for Filipinos, especially OFWs and migrants, queries regarding human trafficking and other relevant issues. Through this, Filipinos can access direct online legal advice and reach out to those who can’t afford it.

Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINKAPIL) or Link for Philippine Development

The LINKAPIL was created and launched by the CFO, resulting in deep and wide ties to Filipinos living overseas. It’s a system that enables overseas Filipinos to transmit different resources to bolster small and impactful projects that benefit the economic and social development of the Philippines. With LINKAPIL, the assistance provided by Filipinos living abroad to develop the following:

  • Aid in the education of Filipino youngsters by granting scholarships, buying educational supplies, and constructing classrooms
  • Develop livelihood opportunities by financing activities that generate revenue for victims of natural disasters or marginalized groups.
  • Promote development by building minor infrastructure, like dwellings, water wells, and latrines.
  • Promote healthy communities by supporting feeding programs, medical missions, medicines, medical supplies, and equipment distribution.

Migration Advocacy and Media (MAM) Awards

MAM Awards honors the significant and positive contributions that raise public awareness on issues regarding Filipino migration, including illegal recruitment, human trafficking, political crisis, remittance flows, brain drain, brain circulation, and families left overseas and in the Philippines. This award is for participating government and private institutions, media outlets, and practitioners in advertising, print, radio, internet, movies, and television.

Month of Overseas Filipinos

The Month of Overseas Filipinos is a celebration co-chaired by the CFO. The Philippine Migrant Rights Watch (PMRW) also heads this celebration – an organization of migrant civil society organizations.

Overseas Filipino Centenarian Awards and Incentives

Also known as the Centenarians Act of 2016, the Republic Act 10868, “An Act Honoring and Granting Additional Benefits and Privileges to Filipino Centenarians, and For Other Other Purposes,” is an honor that gives additional privileges and benefits to Filipino centenarians. Whether overseas or in the Philippines, all Filipino centenarians will be honored by granting them a centenarian gift worth P100,000.

Moreover, all Filipino centenarians will receive a Letter of Felicitation from the Philippine President, praising them for their longevity. As part of the annual Elderly Filipino Week, the country celebrates the first Sunday of October as the National Respect for Centenarians Day from October 1 to 7.

PESO Sense or the Philippine Financial Freedom Campaign

To reach out to all Filipinos, the PESO Sense utilizes new technology to provide online financial literacy lessons to students, remittance recipients/senders, young adults, homemakers, employed, business owners, and retirees. This campaign aims to provide free online training modules accessible on the PESO Sense website, where each training module is for the specific needs of various participants.

Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas

Founded through Executive Order No 498 in December 1991, the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas is a biennial award granted to respected Filipino organizations and individuals for their exceptional contributions to national progress efforts or achievements in their field. The CFO manages this program and awards foreign organizations and individuals, assisting the country or developing causes for Filipino communities overseas.

Ugnayan Series

The Ugnayan Series is run by the CFO in partnership with other government and non-government agencies, aiming for continuous ties with Filipinos across the world, overseeing the welfare of migrants, and considering various ways to cooperate with diaspora participants. In addition, it aims to strengthen Filipino communities by motivating them to partake in social remittance, investment, and entrepreneurial activities.

YouLeaD (Youth Leaders in Diaspora)

Formerly known as Lakbay-Aral, YouLeaD is a portal enabling Filipino youth residing abroad to recover their roots and history. This program has been reformed and remained relevant to the new generations, instilling an in-depth comprehension of what it truly means to be a Filipino. It combines education with lectures on the history and language of the Philippines.

This program also includes guided tours to stunning and historical monuments in the country, partaking in local festivals, and interaction with Filipino students, indigenous community members, and government officials. Furthermore, foreign nationals have contributed to enhancing YouLead, including participants from the United States, China, Switzerland, France, Spain, and the Middle East.

With their participation, YouLead created new modules, like Arts and Culture, Rest and Recreation for Wellness, Eco-Tourism, and Tracing the Philippine Roots.

Overseas Filipinos – CFO Online Registration System (OF-CORS)

Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP)

The GCP is for first-time registrants who are Filipino partners/fiance/spouses of foreign nationals, former Filipinos, or dual citizens of other countries.

Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS)

The PDOS is for Immigrant Visa holders, excluding Filipino partners/fiance/spouses of foreign nationals, former Filipinos, or dual citizens who didn’t take the Tele-counseling.


This program enables online registration for J1 Visa holders for US Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) participants.


AU Pair Visa Holders (CFS) can also register online through OF-CORS.

Re-Issuance, Revalidation, and Amendment with GCP

With OF-CORS, you can also access the following online services:

  • Former attended counselees registration
  • Lost Counseling Certificate Replacement
  • CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate amendment
  • CFO Emigration Registration Sticker revalidation


To sum up, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) will benefit all Filipinos, whether they’re living abroad or in the Philippines. This government agency aims to promote and protect the welfare, rights, and interests of Filipino immigrants, permanent residents, and naturalized or dual citizens of another country. Aside from that, the CFO helps strengthen the ties of Filipinos living overseas to their motherland and encourages them to partake in the social and economic development of the Philippines. Therefore, the CFO connects Filipinos worldwide.

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