DEPARTMENT of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” V. Ople Wednesday announced the appointment of key DMW officials, describing them as “a mix of seasoned government officials and new faces who share a commitment to serve our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).”
“Together, we will make the DMW a secure home for our OFWs and their families,” Ople said.
Ople said the senior DMW officials include Atty. Bernard P. Olalia and Atty. Hans Leo J. Cacdac, who served as administrators of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), respectively.
Olalia will assume his new post as Undersecretary for Licensing and Adjudication Services. He will remain as Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the POEA until such time that the DMW is deemed fully constituted upon the approval of its 2023 budget. Olalia has been with DoLE and the POEA for more than five (5) years.
Cacdac, who has been in the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and OWWA for a total of 21 years, will serve as Undersecretary for Welfare and Foreign Employment. He will oversee the department’s Aksyon Fund, which will be used to help distressed OFWs in various countries.
“This mix of familiar faces and new names reflects our desire for continuity and innovation. The DMW’s “dream team” is now in place, and we vow to serve our OFWs faithfully and with utmost professionalism,” Ople said.
Another seasoned official is Undersecretary Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones who has been in the civil service for 31 years. She was a former DoLE Assistant Secretary during the Arroyo Administration. She was head of the Tourism Promotion Board prior to her latest appointment. She is coming to the DMW as Undersecretary for Finance and Internal Affairs.
New to government service is Atty. Patricia Yvonne M. Caunan who headed a highly successful law firm specializing in labor, civil, administrative, and criminal cases. She is an advocate for migrant worker’s rights giving free legal assistance and advice in various forums. She joins the department as Undersecretary for Policy and International Cooperation.
Arnell Ignacio served as deputy OWWA Administrator before his appointment as OWWA chief. He assumed the post as OWWA deputy administrator in September 2021. He also worked in OWWA in 2018 for one year before leaving due to personal reasons. Administrator Ignacio is keenly aware of the plight of migrant workers having himself been one for many years.
Also, among the “new faces” joining Ople’s DMW Team are Venecio Legaspi, a former OFW for 29 years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia who will serve as Assistant Secretary for Reintegration. “Ka Vennie” rose from the ranks to become vice-president of a prominent Saudi bank in Jeddah before retiring and joining the DMW.
Other key appointments include:
Jerome A. Alcantara – Assistant Secretary for Land-based services and concurrently Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary Levinson C. Alcantara – Assistant Secretary for Pre-employment Services Felicitas Q. Bay – Assistant Secretary for Migrant Workers Welfare Services Francis Ron C. de Guzman – Assistant Secretary for Licensing and Adjudication Services Jerome T. Pampolina – Assistant Secretary Sea-based Services Violeta D. Illescas – Assistant Secretary for Internal Management and Administration.