Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III ordered the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to resume operations while the new Department of Migrant Workers was being reorganized.
He said this is after some groups held conflicting positions that could cause confusion and affect the provision of services to the public.
“Under the law that created DMW, maliwanag na ‘yung mga agencies that are supposed to be absorbed by the DMW, will continue to function under the Department of Labor until such time na ma-meet ‘yung three condition,” Bello said in an interview with TeleRadyo, Friday.
He said the DMW is not yet fully constituted because it does not yet have funding from the 2023 General Appropriations Act, existing implementing rules and regulations (IRR), and staffing patterns.
In a memorandum, Bello authorized POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia to issue appropriate orders and maintain the agency’s operations.
At a hearing in the House on Wednesday, Blas F. Ople Policy Center president Susan Ople expressed concern about the alleged clash between the camp of DMW Secretary Abdullah Mama-o and Olalia of POEA over who would implement the policies.
He said the conflict between government agencies does not help overseas Filipino workers.
As a result, the migrant workers’ group sought the opinion of the Department of Justice to end the confusion immediately.
Bello: POEA operations to continue until OFW department is reorganized
On Thursday, the POEA said President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the IRR developed by the Transition Committee, which includes various government agencies. This is after Mama-o also submitted his IRR.
Under the approved IRR, the POEA administrator office will be the Office of the DMW Secretary.
Duterte approved the law for the creation of the DMW in December.
The number of Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) in 2020 was estimated at 1.77 million, which was lower than the 2.18 million reported in 2019.
Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) decreased to 1.71 million in 2020 from 2.11 million in 2019.
Total remittance sent in 2020 reached 134.77 billion pesos, which was lower than the 210.40 billion pesos reported in 2019.
On average, about 86.81 thousand pesos remittance per OFW was sent in 2020, which is much lower than the 106.62 thousand pesos average remittance sent per OFW in 2019.