MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Thursday defined their roles and responsibilities as several offices under the former will now be part of the newly-created agency.
Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma and DMW Secretary Susan Ople signed a joint circular that will ensure the effective and efficient implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11641, the law that created the DMW.
The circular emphasized the powers and role of the DMW Secretary as the President's chief adviser and principal implementer of all his orders regarding overseas workers.
At least six labor agencies will be under the DMW -- the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs), International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB), National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA, as an attached agency) and National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP, as an attached agency).
Ople shall have the power to exercise primary administrative control and supervision over the POEA, POLO, ILAB, and NRCO as well as administrative control over the OWWA and NMP as attached agencies.
The DMW shall assume the functions of the ILAB with regard to overseas labor migration to ensure that the Philippines complies with its obligations to migration-related international organizations and agreements. It shall work with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the negotiation of treaties and agreements related to overseas labor migration.
On the other hand, the DOLE and POEA shall temporarily retain authority over the following matters -- quasi-judicial functions and issuance of licenses to recruitment and staffing agencies.
The DOLE chief also remains the chair of the POEA’s Governing Board, and the Board of Trustees of the OWWA and NMP.
Funds for the operations of all six agencies shall be sourced from their respective budget allocations in the 2022 national budget.
The circular also mandates that all officials and employees of the affected agencies shall continue to perform their regular duties and functions on a holdover capacity.
Both secretaries are empowered by the joint circular to temporarily reassign personnel to ensure the continued delivery of services to the public.
A Joint Management Committee (JMC) will also be formed to address matters regarding the management and operations of the affected agencies. It is also tasked with the financial management, governance, and compliance responsibilities in the disbursement of funds.
Before being named as DMW chief, Ople was head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, a non-government agency looking after distressed Filipino workers abroad.
The DMW was formed in December 2021 to oversee the welfare of millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), considered the country's modern-day heroes, spread all over the world.
Laguesma, who first served as DOLE secretary under the Estrada administration, said he was fully supportive of Ople.
"All-out support for Toots (Ople) and the DMW from my end. Toots and I have a long professional and personal relationship together, and she has my full support as she nurtures the development of the DMW as a department,” he said in a statement.
Ople also thanked Laguesma for his gesture of support.
"The DMW is the youngest child in the cabinet, we are very appreciative of all the help, guidance, and support Secretary Laguesma has been giving us. I am sure he will continue to help us, the DMW, until such time that we can stand on our own," she said. (PNA)