MIGRANT Workers Secretary Susan Ople expressed her deepest gratitude to the House of Representatives for its approval Thursday of the department’s proposed P15.2B 2023 budget.
Quezon Representative David “Jayjay” Suarez defended the appropriation which proposes a budget of P3.5B for the Office of the Secretary and various units and bureaus under its supervision.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached agency of the DMW, will receive the remaining P11.7B of the department’s budget.
“It is an honor to sponsor and defend the budget of the most infant of departments in the government, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). We often refer to our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as our modern-day heroes for the remittances that they send and continue to bring life to our economy. It is only right that we have a department that will truly cater, fight for the rights of our OFWs,” Suarez noted in his opening statement.
Ople, who is in New York City USA as part of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s official delegation, noted that the House’s approval of the appropriation is the keystone that will finally constitute the DMW as a full-fledged cabinet department.
The DMW’s 2023 appropriation allows it to provide effective and efficient services to its primary client group, the country’s OFWs, ensuring a vigorous regulation and enforcement regime as well as sustaining capacity development and empowerment of migrant workers.
The proposed budget also enables the department to expand its service menu to include e-governance and digitization and explore productive partnerships and linkages with a broad spectrum of public, private, and multilateral stakeholders.
Finally, the appropriation will allow the DMW to implement a national reintegration program for returning OFWs ensuring they thrive in their post-overseas labor journey and continue their role as architects of the country’s economic development.
Undersecretary Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones led the department’s team that supported Representative Suarez through the plenary session’s interpellation and inquiries. An-Waray Party list Representative Florencio “Bem” Noel moved for the approval of the appropriation.
The DMW is the youngest line department in the cabinet. Former President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law in December last year Republic Act (RA) 11641, mandating the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers. The department is tasked as the government’s primary agency responsible for the protection, welfare, and interests of the country’s OFWs and their families.