Department of Migrant Workers

Marcos designates Hans Cacdac as OIC of migrant workers department

Michelle Abad

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Marcos designates Hans Cacdac as OIC of migrant workers department

DMW CHIEF. Then-officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac speaks in a press briefing at the Department of Migrant Workers on July 19, 2023.


(1st UPDATE) The appointment of Migrant Workers Undersecretary Hans Cacdac comes around two weeks after the death of Secretary Susan 'Toots' Ople

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has designated Migrant Workers Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac as officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), Malacañang announced on Wednesday, September 6.

Cacdac serves as the DMW undersecretary for welfare and foreign employment.

The OIC appointment comes around two weeks after the death of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople on August 22.

Around a month before Ople’s death, the department announced that she would go on a wellness break to be with her family after the consecutive deaths of her two brothers, former Hagonoy Mayor Felix “Toti” Ople and journalist Blas Ople Jr. DMW Undersecretary Bernard Olalia had been OIC at this time.

In a statement on Friday, September 8, Cacdac said that he took on the role on a “somber” note, as it followed the passing of his “dear friend” Ople, whom he worked with for nearly two decades to help distressed and trafficked overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“As we remain in grief and mourning over the loss of our dearest Secretary Toots, we adhere to her constant reminder that there is so much to be done, with so little time,” he said.

Some key priorities Cacdac mentioned included getting the DMW’s proposed P15.54-billion proposed 2024 budget approved by lawmakers, and strengthening its One Repatriation Command Center, its anti-human trafficking and illegal recruitment efforts, and its various forms of assistance for distressed OFWs.

The department also looks to continue establishing 17 new regional offices and four additional Migrant Workers Offices abroad, as well as enter into more equitable bilateral labor agreements aimed at protecting OFWs’ welfare.

Cacdac, a lawyer who has long been working in migrant worker governance, is the first to hold this undersecretary position under the DMW, which was created in December 2021.

Cacdac previously served as administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration as well as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration – the two lead agencies formerly under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that catered to OFWs. The POEA has since been merged into the DMW, while the OWWA remains as its attached agency.

The new OIC also held several posts in the DOLE, including undersecretary for labor relations, director of the Bureau of Labor Relations, and executive director of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board. –

Susan ‘Toots’ and the Ople legacy

Susan ‘Toots’ and the Ople legacy

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.