POEA urged to observe status quo in performance of duties


Personnel of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) have been advised to observe the status quo in the performance of their duties and responsibilities until the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is fully constituted.

In a memorandum, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has authorized POEA chief Bernard Olalia to issue the appropriate orders to carry out the directive in the interest of service and to ensure the orderly operations of the agency.

He said the DMW is yet to be fully constituted until there is an appropriation in the 2023 General Appropriations Act, an effective implementing rules and regulations, and a staffing pattern.

Citing the conflicting positions on the constitution of DMW, Bello pointed to Administrative Code of 1987, stating that all disputes, claims, and controversies, solely between or among the departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the national government shall be administratively settled or adjudicated by the Secretary of Justice, as the Attorney-General of the national government.

“Thus, it is of utmost importance that the status quo be maintained pending the issuance of the Justice Secretary of his ruling or decision, which shall be conclusive and binding on all parties concerned,” Bello said.

Earlier, the Transition Committee submitted to the Office of the President the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), which were signed by members of the Committee, except the DMW Secretary.

The DMW Secretary, on the other hand, signed his version of the implementing rules and regulations, which was published on April 6.

In recognition of the authority of the Transition Committee to formulate the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 11641, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum on April 18 informing that the President “interposes no objection to the submitted IRR and has cleared its immediate publication.”

Bello issued the directive amid contrary positions taken by some quarters that “have caused confusion and disruption of public service to the detriment of migrant workers.”

Meanwhile, Olalia also reported that the IRR of the DMW has been approved by Malacañang.

He said included in the IRR are the structural, operations and mechanisms on how to continue to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) when they are deployed abroad.

“Also included are policies on how to protect OFWs, on how to promote their welfare and to continue to assist them,” he said at the Laging Handa briefing on Thursday.

The agencies that will be under the new DMW are the National Reintegration Center, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, International Labor Affairs Bureau of Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, National Maritime Polytechnic, Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, Department of Social Welfare and Development – International Social Services Office, and the Commission on Filipino Overseas.

“They will remain as independent agencies until the DMW is not fully operational, according to the instruction of the Executive Secretary, Office of Malacañang, and that is what we are currently doing,” Olalia said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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