By Junex Doronio
January 18, 2023
MANILA — Like a big brother, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is very much willing to lend a hand to the “newly-born” Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) by funding assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) until March this year.
This was revealed by DFA Undersecretary for Office of the Migrant Workers Affairs Eduardo de Vega during a public briefing about the Aksyon Fund or the fund for assisting OFWs.
“DMW is still setting up its funding mechanisms so for the time being, it (Aksyon Fund) will be under DFA. We are working on a joint agreement [in disbursing this],” De Vega said during the public briefing on the Aksyon Fund on Monday, January 16.
He explained that the Aksyon Fund will be under DFA jurisdiction alongside the Assistance to Nationals, the budget of which is for aiding non-OFW Filipinos abroad such as permanent residents of the foreign host countries, students, Filipino nationals who are citizens of the host country but Filipino descent or also a Filipino citizen, those awaiting naturalization, Filipinos engaged in government exchange visiting program and those who are there (abroad) who are there not to work, including spouses of foreign citizens.
“We are still in the transition period. Pending the completion of the transition, the DFA will be here to provide assistance,” De Vega further said.
It can be recalled that the law creating the DMW was passed only in February 2022. Under the law, the DMW should be able to fully function as an agency two years after the DMW law is passed.
DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople has the following agencies under her department: Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, National Reintegration for OFWs, International Labor Affairs Bureau, Philippine Overseas Labor Office, and OFW Hospital, among others.
“Within two years, their (DMW) duties [now being provided for by DFA] should be turned over to them. We are talking to them and we are hoping that within six months [from now], the transition is done,” De Vega said.
However, he clarified that the DFA “will fund the Aksyon Fund from January to March, and we’re told that they (in DMW) can set up the Aksyon Fund] by April this year.” (ai/mtvn)