Drilon backs Bello on Saudi deployment ban; urges Malacańang to end confusion at the Dep’t of Migrant Workers

Published April 28, 2022, 5:43 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday urged President Duterte to end the confusion caused by the appointment of his former adviser Abdullah Mama-o, as secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers, which has yet to be constituted.

Drilon also said he supports Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III who recently countered the order issued by Mama-o that lifted the ban on the deployment of newly-hired Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia.

The former labor secretary said only the President can end the confusion as he is bound by the Constitution to faithfully execute the laws of the land.

“I urge the President to intervene for the sake of the labor sector and migrant workers that we seek to protect with the passage of the Republic Act 11641. Mama-o’s actions are sowing confusion,” Drilon said in a statement.

“Only the President has the authority to do so under the Constitution, because he has control over the executive and all its departments,” he stressed.

As far as he is concerned, Drilon said Mama-o’s actions are illegal since he cannot perform the function of a full-fledged secretary until the Department of Migrant Workers is fully constituted,”

“That is clear under the law,” Drilon further stressed.

“The jurisdiction still remains with Secretary Bello, because the Department of Migrant Workers does not exist yet. We have a transitory provision in the law that Mama-o should recognize and respect,” Drilon said.

Drilon earlier expressed his disappointment at Mama-o over what he said is the latter’s erroneous interpretation of Republic Act 11641 or the law that created the Department of Migrant Workers.

It was Duterte who appointed Mama-o to the DMW last March. Drilon pointed out that under the law, the department shall not be constituted without an appropriation in the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA), an effective implementing rules and regulations, and a staffing pattern.

The minority leader said the appointment of Mama-o is the root cause of all the confusion and policy disputes that sent shock to the labor and migrant workers industry.

“It is about time that the President intervenes and resolves the conflict created by the appointment of Mama-o. To allow this situation to continue is detrimental to the interest of the labor sector and the OFWs,” Drilon said.

Under Article VII, Sec. 17 of the Constitution, “The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.”