How to Apply OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (MDA) Program

As the agency tasked to protect and support OFWs, the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) provisioned four different programs exclusively for the seafaring Filipinos, and one of them is the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA)—a bridging program specifically created for engineering students who aspire to become marine officers on ocean-going vessels.

Also Read: List of OWWA Scholarship Programs

In this article, we created a comprehensive guide about the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA). So, if you or someone you know aspires to travel the seas as a marine officer but need a little assistance in completing the education required, you may want to check out OWWA’s MDA Program and its qualifications, requirements, and benefits. Who knows? This might be the opportunity you are waiting for. 

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how to apply owwa mda mariners dugtong aral program for seafarers

What is the OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA)? 

For Filipinos with bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) or Electrical Engineering (BSEE) who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering (BSMarE) to become seafarers, OWWA is offering a scholarship grant called Mariner’s Dugtong Aral Program (MDA) — a bridging program for selected engineering students that would help them land a job as qualified Marine Officers on ocean-going vessels. This financial grant is allotted to those who want to be a seafarer and take on the world through seas by pursuing a maritime career overseas.

Through the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (MDA) college graduates who are bachelor’s degree holders in the fields of Mechanical Engineering (BS ME) or Electrical Engineering (BS EE) can enroll in any OWWA-accredited educational institution or training center in order to finish their bachelor’s degree in Maritime Engineering (BS MarE) and pass the licensure examination required to become marine officers. 

This special OWWA scholarship is intended to help would-be seafarers pursue a career in the shipping industry. It covers the expenses for your college education, including all the training fees paid to whichever accredited school or center you choose to take your courses from. It also offers financial assistance with an allotment for three-month stipend included in the package.

Benefits of the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA) 

Under the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA), OWWA is offering qualified graduates of BS Mechanical Engineering and BS Electrical Engineering a special scholarship grant. This grant offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Monetary assistance amounting to not more than Php 38,120.00 to pay for tuition fees that will lead to a seafarer’s BS Marine Engineering degree.
  • Three (3) months worth of stipend amounting to Php 15,000.00. 
  • An opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree in Maritime Engineering and take one step closer to becoming a qualified marine officer on-board an ocean vessel.

Qualifications for Availing the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA)

In order to qualify, apply for, and avail of the  OWWA’s Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program, seafarers or would-be seafarer applicants need to meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Must be active OWWA members who are OFW-seafarers
  • Must be a Filipino citizen.
  • Must be the immediate dependents of an OFW who is an active or a former member of OWWA, whether land-based or sea-based
  • Must be an OFWs’ relatives to the first degree of consanguinity
  • If the OFWs are married: the dependents must be an  unmarried child under the age of 30
  • If the OFW is single: the dependent must be an unmarried child, sibling, niece, or nephew under the age of 30

Requirements to Avail of the Benefits of the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA) 

If you are interested in the benefits of OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program and you satisfy the minimum qualifications, then here are the documentary requirements that you need to secure to apply for this scholarship program for seafarers:

  • Duly accomplished MDA Application Form
  • Any proof of OWWA Membership: 
  • in the OWWA must be illustrated (OR Of contribution)
  • Official receipt (OR) of OWWA contribution
  • OFW E-Card
  • Identical 2″x2″ photos (2 copies)
  • Any recent proof of residency
  • NBI clearance
  • Recent Internet/electrical/water bill
  • Recent bank statement/statement of account of your credit card
  • Any proof of relationship to the OFW maybe any of the following:
  • Birth Certificate of the applicant, if the applicant is a child of active OWWA member OFW who is married or single
  • CENOMAR of OFW and birth certificate of OFW child, sibling, niece, or nephew, if the active OWWA member OFW is single.
  • Transcript of Records from enrolled college or university – for either BS Mechanical Engineering (BS ME) or BS Electrical Engineering (BS EE)
  • Bachelor’s degrees in either:
  • Mechanical Engineering (BSME)
  • Electrical Engineering (BSEE)
  • A Sworn Statement or a Declaration that the applicant has no current or pending scholarship applications with OWWA or other NGAs or NGOs.
  • Any of the following:
  • Passport
  • Seafarer’s ID
  • Record Book

How to Apply for the OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA) 

Once your requirements are ready, you may proceed with the MDA application process.

To do so, here’s the complete step-by-step guide on how to apply for the MDA program for seafarers:

  • Visit your designated OWWA Regional or Satellite Welfare Office and secure a copy of the MDA application form.
  • Accomplish the form with the required information and attach all of the documentation specifications required.
  • Submit the form along with all the documentary requirements to the nearest OWWA RWO SWO.
  • Wait for a call from OWWA to confirm that your application for the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program has been successful and to find out if you secured an applicant’s slot.
  • Wait for a copy of the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program Scholarship Agreement Form which will be sent to you in a downloadable and printable format via email if your application has been accepted.
  • Accepted Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA) applicants will need to print, sign, and notarize the accomplished Scholarship Agreement Form before sending it back by courier to the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare Office for confirmation.
  • The eligible beneficiaries of the Marine’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program will be announced.
  • Once your application has been approved, you, the applicant will receiving a Notice of Award (NOA).

Important Things to Remember about the MDA

For the complete list of important reminders and notes about the application for OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program, you may check this section here. Please be guided accordingly:

  • Would-be seafarers who submit their requirements get a serial reference number or a tracking number via SMS or email to help track their application status.
  • All eligible beneficiaries of the Marine’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA) who successfully got the scholarship grant will be announced publicly.
  • The Marine’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program’s monetary assistance will be paid through bank remittances, straight to the beneficiary’s bank account.
  • If they want to receive the grant benefits, all eligible beneficiaries of the Marine’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program are required to have their own active account number in their name. If the student beneficiaries don’t have one yet, then the member OFW will have to open a savings account in the name of their child or relative who will be enjoying the privileges of the scholarship grant.
  • The educational aid offered by the Marine’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program is not meant to cover the entire tuition fee for the student. Instead, it is to be used to supplement the funds meant for other educational expenses, such as books and other school supplies.
  • The MDA applicants will only receive  the Notice of Award (NOA) once the application has been approved. 
  • Eligible beneficiaries of the MDA must submit the NOA to the training center upon enrollment.
  • All the training centers already know about the MDA beneficiaries’ NOA so they are already expecting it.
  • Note that the NOA is only valid for 45 days after it is accepted so make sure you get and use it within the allotted period. 
  • Applicants won’t get a new NOA if they fail to use it within the allotted time limit. You will have to wait for the next scheduled appointment if it happens.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information, you may check out these common questions and answers that we rounded up about the OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA):

1. How much is the monetary assistance from the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA)?

The MDA scholarships offers annual monetary assistance amounting to a maximum of Php 38,120.00. On top of this, qualified graduates also get Php 15,000.00 for a 3-month stipend.

2. We are an OFW couple who are both active OWWA members. Can we both avail the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program as an OFW couple if we are both eligible for the program?

No, for married OFW couples who are both eligible for the MDA program as active OWWA members, only one (1) can avail of the benefits of this scholarship grant.

3. May I still participate in the program if the cost of the tuition fee exceeds the program’s amount?

Yes, you are not prohibited from participating in the MDA program regardless of the amount of tuition fees. However, the amount of the monetary assistance from the MDA scholarship grant is fixed, so if your tuition fees and study expenses are expensive, you will have no choice but to be liable for any costs exceeding the program’s covered amount. Having said that, you are expected to cover for such costs, in the event that it actually happens to exceed the program’s amount.

4. Does the MDA Notice of Award (NOA) expire? How long is the validity and what happens if I don’t use it for a certain number of days/months and it becomes invalidated?

Yes. The Notice of Award (NOA) for the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program has an expiration date. It  is only valid for a maximum of 45 days after it is accepted so the eligible beneficiaries need to ensure that they get their hands on it and use it within 45 days.

In the event that it expires without being used within the specified time limit, the eligible beneficiary won’t get another NOA and will have to wait for the next scheduled appointment.

5. Is the program exclusive for engineering graduates?

Yes, in a way. The Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program is specifically designed for applicants who are graduates of either BS Mechanical Engineering (BS ME) and BS Electrical Engineering (BS EE) who intend to pursue a career as a marine office on-board an ocean-going vessel by completing a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering and passing the licensure exam. The program is also offered to active OFWs who are already working as seafarers, provided that they are BS ME or BS EE graduates.

6. Can we apply for more than one dependent who can avail the MDA if my spouse and I are both active OWWA members?

No. Just like in other OWWA scholarship grants like EDSP, ODSP, and SESP, married OFWs, even though they are both active OWWA members, are only entitled to have one (1) qualified dependent for this scholarship program.

7. Is the MDA grant a recurring one like the EDSP? How often will it be given?

No. The Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program is a one-time scholarship grant that gives a monetary assistance amounting to  up to Php 38,120.00. The eligible beneficiaries get a monthly stipend of Php 15,000.00 for 3 months, though. Though the MDA is a one-time grant, the grant benefits may still vary from one applicant to another, subject to review and assessment of OWWA and the other concerned agencies.

8. I am an OFW dependent. Am I required to be an OWWA member upon accepting the grant?

No, OFW dependents who are beneficiaries of the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program who complete the BS Marine Engineering degree are not required to be OWWA members upon accepting the grant. Sure, they are highly encouraged, especially if they intend to work overseas later on, but it is not mandatory.

9. Is the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program a loan? How much time do I have before I need to start paying it back?

No. The Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA) is not a loan. Having said that, there is no need for the OWWA members or their qualified beneficiaries to pay it back to OWWA. 

10. I need more information about the program. Is there any number I can call or any person I can reach out to for assistance?

Suppose you need more information about the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program, then you may reach out to OWWA via the following contact information:

Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA)

Office Address: F.B. Harrison St, Pasay, Metro Manila

Tel. No.: 8891-7601 to 24

OWWA hotline number: 1348, (02) 1348 (Regional), (+632) 1348 (International) 

OWWA Email Address:

OWWA Facebook page:

OWWA website:

You may also download and install the OWWA Mobile App from either Google Play Store or Apple Store so you can stay updated on the latest OWWA projects and programs created specifically for you—the Modern Heroes, the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). You may also contact the nearest OWWA regional welfare office through their Facebook page for additional information.


Indeed, the OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral Program lives up to its name as it bridges people to their dreams and brings the Filipino seafarers’ service closer to the global market. So if you are an aspiring mariner, or you simply wish to be on-board an ocean vessel and travel while working, it is up to you if you want to seize this opportunity to get subsidized tuition fees and take another step closer to expanding your horizons and conquering the seafarers market.

Seafaring, after all, has its own appeal and there is a certain pride in being a seafarer. Plus, the benefits of working as one is immense—from the substantially high pay to the incredible opportunity to travel the world, do something useful, and enjoy long holidays. We doubt if there’s any other career that offers as much gratification as being a mariner.

In any case, we’ve already laid down all the things you need to know about how you can sign up for and avail of the benefits and privileges of the OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA).

It’s safe to say that this scholarship grant is indeed a good opportunity for OWWA members and their beneficiaries who wish to build a career as a mariner or seafarer and conquer the world’s oceans while on-board an ocean-going vessel. It’s a pretty lucrative career with a lot of perks, plus, who would say no to subsidized education to achieve this dream?