The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is the executive department of the Philippine government tasked to protect the rights and promote the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The department was created by virtue of Department of Migrant Workers Act or the Republic Act No. 11641, which was signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on December 30, 2021.

The Department of Migrant Workers Act (RA 11641) took effect on February 3, 2022, wherein the DMW was created, established, and constituted.

It now assumes and performs all the powers and functions of seven merged agencies, namely:

  • the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA);
  • the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) of the DFA;
  • the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) and
  • all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) under DOLE;
  • the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP);
  • the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRC) under the OWWA, and
  • the Office of the Social Welfare Attaché (OSWA) under the DSWD.

The DMW is mandated to facilitate the overseas employment and reintegration of Filipino workers, while taking into consideration the national development programs of the National Economic and Development Authority. It is also tasked to promote the empowerment and protection of OFWs through continuous training and knowledge development.

Department of Migrant Workers may start by 2023

The newly-created Department of Migrant Workers is expected to start operations by 2023, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Thursday.

They have a so-called transition period, two years have been given by law for the transition of agencies to the new Department of Migrant Workers and during this transition period, a transition committee will be formed,” POEA chief Bernard Olalia said in a Laging Handa briefing on Thursday.

Olalia said the committee is tasked to craft the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the department, the organizational structure, and staffing pattern.

The committee will also submit a budget proposal for the department for 2023.

It will be composed of officials from the POEA, the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs or UMWA from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO(sad) National Reintegration Center for OFWs, National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), all under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); and Office of National Social Welfare Attaché (OSWA) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The purpose of this department is to expand the assistance they should receive and expedite the delivery of services to them, to unite all our agencies, our inter-agencies that have a mandate for the protection and promotion of our OFWs,” Olalia added.

Aside from these offices, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB), both attached agencies of the DOLE, will also be part of the newly created department.

On the other hand, Olalia assured employees of these agencies should not be worried as they will be absorbed by the new office.

All the personnel, all the resources, your budget appropriation will be combined. And don’t worry, the employees or staff of the said agencies because they will be assumed. There will be consolidation and merger of all these agencies,” he said.

It is clear from the provisions of the approved law that all the appropriations and budgets of the agencies I mentioned earlier will be the budget of the new department,” the POEA chief added.

The creation of the new department is pursuant to Republic Act 11641 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last December 30.

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