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As the Senate approves the P16.3-B budget, DMW promises “judicious” fund utilization.

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Following the Senate’s approval of its PHP16.3 billion budget, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Saturday guaranteed complete transparency, accountability, and “judicious” use of public monies.

Friday’s plenary session of the upper chamber saw the budget’s approval, bringing the newly established agency one step closer to the completion of its first full-year budget.

“On Friday, November 11, 2022, at 1:55 am, the first DMW budget was passed. Additionally, it was the first time a department’s budget was approved on the Senate floor on a Friday, which is a holiday in the Philippine Senate, according to Susan Ople, the secretary for migrant workers.

“The development, defense, and approval of the DMW’s 2023 budget required a great deal of effort. We value our politicians’ concern for our OFWs and their families, the speaker continued.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Office of the Secretary (OSEC), and annual recurring allocations for retirement and life insurance premiums total at least PHP4.32 billion, PHP11.76 billion, and PHP230 million, respectively (RLIP).

The OSEC will establish 16 regional offices and centers, including Overseas Employment Adjudication Offices in the National Capital Region (NCR), Regions 3 (Central Luzon), 4-A (Calabarzon), 7, and 11 (Davao Region), as well as expand Migrant Workers Offices (MWOs), formerly known as Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in specific overseas locations.

The DMW and its services will be closer to OFWs and their families residing in the provinces with the opening of the new regional offices and centers, the agency claimed.

Digital modernization of its information and communications technology capability is one of the other important undertakings that will be supported.

The Senate, according to the DMW, allocated an additional PHP500 million for the OFW Hospital in Mabalacat, Pampanga, allowing it to hire workers for its 229 regular staff jobs, purchase new equipment, and pay for operating costs.

Additionally, OWWA received PHP 100 million, which would be applied to the establishment of OWWA regional offices in Mindanao.

According to Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, chair of the Senate Finance subcommittee and the department’s budget sponsor, the DMW will become a fully functional government agency after the first budget is passed.

No one is more qualified to head the Department of Migrant Workers than Secretary Toots Ople, whose name is already synonymous with the laborers, according to Ejercito, who also emphasized Ople’s qualifications.

One of the main writers of Republic Act 11641, the law that established the DMW, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, expressed hope that the DMW’s present organizational structure will solve the problems of migrant workers and pledged to “assist the leadership in any manner we can.”

Meanwhile, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano noted that he supported the DMW budget as a means to thank the nation’s OFWs for supporting the nation’s economy.

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