Department of Migrant Workers

DOLE offices dealing with OFWs turned over to DMW

Michelle Abad

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

DOLE offices dealing with OFWs turned over to DMW

OFWS. Hundreds of overseas Filipino workers start arriving for the holiday season, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on December 1, 2021.


The Department of Migrant Workers will be able to use the budget provided for the offices under the Department of Labor and Employment

MANILA, Philippines – Several offices from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) catering to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been transferred to the new Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), according to the two departments’ first joint memorandum circular (JMC).

The JMC, released to the media on Thursday, July 14, said that the following agencies and offices, or their functions, were turned over from the DOLE to the DMW:

  • 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 attached agency)
  • National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP, as attached agency)

Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople now has administrative control and supervision over the transferred offices. The DMW will also source its funds for these offices from the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA), since their budgets already existed before the DMW was created.

The DMW will not be fully constituted yet without implementing rules and regulations, a staffing pattern, and a budget. The DMW has yet to acquire its own budget for 2023, while Ople said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has yet to approve the staffing pattern it submitted.

As for international cooperation and agreements for OFWs, it will now be the DMW that will monitor observance and implementation of the Philippines’ obligations and commitments to migration-related international organizations and treaties instead of the DOLE’s ILAB.

The DMW will also coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on the negotiation of treaties, bilateral and multilateral agreements, compacts, and other agreements related to overseas labor migration.

The DOLE and POEA will temporarily retain authority over quasi-judicial functions, and the issuance of licenses to recruitment and staffing agencies. Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma will also remain the chair of the POEA Governing Board, and the Board of Trustees of the OWWA and NMP.

Personnel in the affected offices will also be able to continue working with the same salaries and benefits, “unless in the meantime they are separated from government service pursuant to existing laws.” Foreign service workers will stay with the DFA, unless they have positions created by the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.

The JMC also created a DOLE-DMW Joint Management Committee which would ensure the implementation of the JMC, manage the affected budget within the framework of the 2022 GAA, and make recommendations to the two secretaries on operational matters.

Laguesma said on Thursday that there was “nothing illegal” in the transition despite the DMW being not yet fully constituted. Laguesma and Ople said they were following Marcos’ marching orders to ensure uninterrupted service for OFWs.

“We are just ramping up efforts to make DMW operational as early as possible,” Laguesma said. The DOLE also said the transfer of offices will allow it to have greater focus on local employment, as the creation of more jobs emerged as one of the top concerns of Filipinos in a recent Pulse Asia survey.

“Kaya mahalaga ‘yung pinirmahan namin na JMC kasi ayaw namin ni Secretary Benny na lalabas na turuan. Gusto namin tulungan. Industry players, foreign employers, and most especially OFWs [ay sana] hindi magkalituhan, dahil magiging klaro ‘yung papel ng isa’t isa during the transition,” said Ople.

(The JMC we signed is important because Secretary Benny and I do not want to point fingers at each other. We want to help each other. We want the industry players, foreign employers, and most especially the OFWs to avoid confusion, because each of our corresponding roles during the transition will be clear.)

The DMW is also expected to absorb offices from the DFA and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, based on Republic Act No. 11641, or the law creating the DMW. Ople said this agreement with the DOLE serves as a “model” for the other departments to follow.

“We need a reset of the mindset of everyone that will be working in the [DMW that] the center of our universe is migrant workers protection,” said Ople.

The DMW is expected to be fully operational by 2023. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Clothing, Apparel, Person


Michelle Abad

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