ERCOF stands for ECONOMIC RESOURCE CENTER FOR OVERSEAS FILIPINOS, and as its name suggests, it is an organization that offers programs and services designed to help overseas Filipinos in properly managing their economic resources. ERCOF started as a network of Europe-based Filipinos who met in the course of attending several conferences that dealt with the general issue of migration and development. Prior to their relocation to this continent, most of them were active members of Philippine NGOs (non-government organizations) involved in community work and organizing, as well as specific development and human rights advocacies of their respective organizations. Having lived with the Filipino community in their respective countries of residence, they decided to form this network to further their common desire at linking migration with local development. ERCOF does this by providing overseas Filipinos important business, legal and practical information as well as linkages to various institutions, which they may use in making informed and responsible decisions about these resources.
ERCOF has compiled and continues to gather a database of business, economic, legal and practical information that are focused on topics and matters frequently encountered and asked by overseas Filipinos. The database includes programs and services for overseas Filipinos that are offered by government and private institutions but which are not normally known and therefore seldom utilized by overseas Filipinos. ERCOF has links with various Philippine based groups or professional who provide specialized information in their respective fields.
For sometimes now, the ERCOF Website (www.ercof.org) has made available this database via the internet and has on occasions provided more specific information upon request of overseas Filipinos and/or their family members in response to specific emergencies, as well as linking to them to the appropriate agencies concerned or to assist them in their search for legal representation. In Switzerland, the work of Ercof lawyers consisted mainly in assisting Filipino workers and residents in some form of legal distress, such as domestic workers who are victims of abuse or unfair labor practice from domestic employers or diplomats, acting as liaison or resource person vis-à-vis Swiss lawyers or authorities, in interpreting Philippine laws that are related to an ongoing court proceeding, giving legal advice and referrals to Philippine lawyers for pending or threatened legal cases in the Philippines. The legal manual is part of a current effort to organize and enhance the Ercof legal referral system for maximum and effective outreach.