Duterte certifies bill creating new OFW dept. as urgent

Published May 31, 2021, 5:42 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte has certified as urgent the Senate Bill creating the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos (DMWOF) that aims to oversee all policies protecting the welfare of Filipinos abroad.

Some of the stranded OFWs at NAIA on Friday morning, May 28, 2021. (Ariel Fernandez / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement after Senate Bill (SB) No. 2234 that creates DMWOF reached Senate plenary last week.

In a statement, Roque said Duterte certified the bill as urgent to better serve and promote the welfare of Filipinos abroad.

“The Chief Executive has certified as urgent Senate Bill No. 2234… to provide a more efficient, whole-of-government approach to protect the rights and promote the welfare and interest of overseas Filipinos,” he said.

The said Senate Bill would turn the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) into the DMWOF. It would also take over the functions of all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, among others.

It will also supervise the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration as its attached agency. Employees from that office will be absorbed by the new department.

In October last year, Roque assured the public that President Duterte would sign the bill creating the DMWOF, initially referred to as the Department of Overseas Filipinos (DOFIL).

Earlier this month, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the creation of an agency that will address the concerns of overseas Filipinos remained a top priority of the Duterte administration.

He said the model for the DOFIL was “uniquely Filipino and is crafted in response to the needs and clamor of the Overseas Filipino Workers.”

“[It] brings together, under one command, all the government entities and sub-units serving Filipinos overseas, by consolidating and merging all their functions, resources, personnel, budgets, into one Department,” he said.