In a virtual forum last Sunday, TUCP president Raymond C. Mendoza announced he was informed by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) that the bill creating the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) will be signed on December 28, 2021.
“The signing will continue and it will be in Malacañang. There is no time yet, but it is going to be on the 28th that is why I will be leaving tomorrow to attend the signing ceremony,” the representative of the TUCP party-list group said.
The tentative schedule was also confirmed by Senator Christopher “Bong” T. Go. “I hope it could be [signed] on December 28 since I was the one who authored it since it is meant to be a gift for OFWs,” Go told BusinessMirror in a Viber message.
The creation of the new department consolidating government agencies which deal with OFW affairs was among the commitments made by Duterte during his previous State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Among the agencies expected to be absorbed in the DMW are these attached offices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE): Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) of the, National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), and National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP).
It will also include the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the office of the Social Welfare Attache (OSWA) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will serve as an attached agency of the new department.
Mendoza said the bill will not include the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) of the Office of the President.
The principal author of the House of Representatives (HOR) version of the bill said among the agencies, POEA is expected to serve as the “core” of the newly created agency.
He said a two-year transition will be implemented by a transition Committee to include the Department of Migrant Workers Secretary, the head of the affected agencies.
Among the tasks of the committee will be to “rationalize” the workforce for the new department and determine the budget for its operations.
Workers who will be displaced during the transition will be given separation benefits under the Government Reorganization Law and other similar laws, according to Mendoza.
“We are looking at the end of the transition period by 2023,” Mendoza said.