The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) of the Philippines was established to safeguard and advance the rights of overseas Filipino migrant workers (OFWs). What is the Meaning of DMW – Department of Migrant Workers (OFW Department) This department is responsible for providing support and assistance to Filipinos working abroad, as well as ensuring the protection of their rights. It seeks to consolidate various services and programs from different offices that cater to OFWs overseas, which is why it is also known as the “Department of OFWs.”
A significant role of the Department of Migrant Workers is to extend aid to migrant workers who have experienced exploitation or abuse. This assistance includes providing them with shelter, food, medical care, and legal support. Additionally, the department offers support to migrant workers who have been deported from other countries.
The consolidation and transfer of several agencies are planned to be carried out as part of the establishment of the new department. These agencies include the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) from the Office of the President, the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the International Social Services Office (ISSO) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) from DOLE, and all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO). These agencies will be merged and transferred to the newly created Department of Migrant Workers to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of services provided to OFWs.
In 2016, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Philippines proposed the creation of a single government agency dedicated to the care of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). He emphasized that this agency would handle all the permits and requirements needed by OFWs, streamlining the process and ensuring their welfare. The president envisioned a department solely dedicated to the needs of OFWs.
Fast forward to 2021, President Duterte signed the Republic Act (RA) 11641, which officially established the “Department of Migrant Workers” (DMW). This act aimed to enhance coordination among various agencies involved in safeguarding the interests of OFWs. The primary objective of the DMW was to address the existing gaps and challenges in the current system by consolidating the responsibilities of different departments into a single entity focused on the welfare of OFWs.
Despite the presence of government agencies assigned to protect and support OFWs, there were instances where their functions fell short. This was mainly because some of these agencies were operating under different departments that did not prioritize the welfare of OFWs. Recognizing this issue, President Duterte proposed the creation of the DMW to centralize and mandate the coordination of all agencies involved in the welfare of OFWs. The establishment of the DMW aimed to ensure that the needs and concerns of OFWs were addressed more effectively and efficiently.
Migrant Workers Office Act (OFW Department)
The Act for the Department of Migrant Workers was implemented in February 2022, and according to the information provided, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) were scheduled to be issued on April 18, 2022. Following that, the staffing pattern for the Department was expected to be established on June 3, 2022.
It was announced that President Rodrigo Duterte nominated Abdullah Mama-o, his adviser, as the secretary of the newly established Department of Migrant Workers.
However, the formation of the Department of Migrant Workers is contingent upon several factors, as stated in the law. These include having a budget allocated for the Department in 2023, issuing the IRR, and establishing a staffing pattern.
Ultimately, the creation and successful functioning of the Department of Migrant Workers will depend on the political will of the next president and how the next administration prioritizes matters related to migration and the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
The Department of Migrant Workers will be the central unit that consolidates and oversees all the agencies involved in the welfare and protection of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). This consolidation will bring several benefits to both the government and OFWs.
Firstly, having a head department that mandates and organizes all programs, policies, and concerns related to OFWs around the world will significantly enhance coordination among the various agencies. What is the Meaning of DMW – Department of Migrant Workers (OFW Department) This will lead to faster and more efficient assistance and support for OFWs, as all relevant entities will be able to work together seamlessly.
By streamlining the process and providing a single location for documentation and assistance, the new department will make it easier for migrant workers to access the services they need. This will reduce bureaucratic hurdles and save time for OFWs, allowing them to focus on their work and well-being while abroad.
The renaming of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to the Department of Migrant Workers signifies a shift in focus toward the holistic welfare of OFWs. The new department will have the responsibility of overseeing all programs aimed at preserving the welfare of OFWs, emphasizing the importance of their well-being and protection.
For this vision to be fully realized, the next president must continue and support this project by implementing the necessary changes and providing the resources needed for the Department of Migrant Workers to function effectively.