Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has directed all personnel of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to observe the status quo in the performance of their duties and responsibilities pending the full constitution of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
The newly-created DMW is expected to start operations by 2023, Bello said.
In a memorandum, Bello also authorized POEA chief Bernard Olalia to issue the appropriate orders to carry out his directive “in the interest of the service and to ensure the orderly operations of POEA.”
Bello issued the directives amid contrasting positions taken by some quarters that “have caused confusion and disruption of public service to the detriment of migrant workers.”
The Secretary pointed out that the DMW is yet to be fully constituted with the corresponding budget embodied in the 2023 General Appropriations Act; and the implementing rules and regulations; as well as the staffing pattern have yet to be finalized.
Citing the conflicting positions on the constitution of DMW, Bello pointed to the 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 stressed.
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center has sought the opinion of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on the matter.
Meanwhile, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the President has been presented with both the implementing rules and regulations drafted by the Transition Committee and the DMW Secretary.
It may be recalled that the Transition Committee submitted to the Office of the President the implementing rules and regulations, which was signed by the 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, Medialdea issued a memorandum on April 18 providing that the President “interposes no objection to the submitted IRR and has cleared its immediate publication.”