Cayetano calls for swift formation of Department of Migrant Workers

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Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday called for the immediate formation of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) before it gets put on the back burner as the administration transitions to a new one.

“I hope with the political will of our President, President Rodrigo Duterte, mai-set up kaagad,” Cayetano said in a media interview on December 31, 2021.

The DMW Act was signed by Duterte on December 30, the same day he signed the P5.2-trillion national budget for 2022.

Cayetano said the formation of the DMW might take more than a year so he is hoping that the next President would immediately pick up where the previous one leaves off.

“Iba kasi kapag may nanay o tatay kaagad y’ung departamento na ‘yan,” Cayetano, who served as the Foreign Affairs Secretary from 2017 to 2018, said.

(It is way better for the department to be assigned a head right away.)

He said the manpower for the DMW is already there and all that is needed is a point person to finally operate.

“Nandyan naman y’ung mga tao eh – mga taga-POEA, OWWA, USec Sarah Arriola ng OUMWA sa DFA,” he said.

(The manpower is there – people from POEA [Philippine Overseas Employment Administration] OWWA [Overseas Workers Welfare Administration], Udersecretary Sarah Arriola of DFA OUMWA [Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs].)

“N’ung Secretary ako mineeting ko lahat ‘yan, nakakagulat halos lahat pala ng departamento may programa sa OFW pero hindi sila nagkikita-kita at hindi nag-uusap-usap,” he added.

(I held a meeting with them when I was still the DFA Secretary. I was surprised that, all along, they have their own programs for OFWs but never got to coordinate with one another.)

The former Speaker warned of the possibility of DMW’s establishment dragging too long due to lack of political will, citing the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) which took 12 years to finally become the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

He said he hopes the next President could “show off” and set up the new department immediately.

“Baka magpakitang-gilas kung sino man ang susunod na Pangulo at i-set up ito kaagad,” he said.

(The next President might show off what they got and set it up right away.)

Aside from having a full-time Cabinet member to look after OFWs, Cayetano reiterated that the DMW is the key to having government accountability on every OFW-related issue and to the Philippine’s networking with favorable receiving countries.###

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