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DFA’s Migrant Workers Affairs Office renamed to Migrant Affairs Office

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The Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) will officially be renamed Office of the Undersecretary for Migration Affairs to focus on policy and non-migrant workers affairs, and end its overlapping mandate with the Department of Migrant Workers.

DFA Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega, who currently heads the migrant workers affairs office, announced this on Tuesday, saying once the department order signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo has been published or registered with the University of the Philippines Law Center, “certain functions” of his office dealing with migrant workers’ affairs will be transferred to the DMW.

Under the transition, De Vega said “we’re passing a lot of its (DFA-OUMWA) functions.” 

“It’s still a work in progress but we can’t lose the existence of the office because we still have our own funds, our assistance to nationals and legal assistance funds for Filipinos who are not, for example, migrant workers,” De Vega added.

“Because the DMW deals with full migrant workers but if they are tourists, students, or even permanent residents, we still deal with them,” he added.

The official stressed that his newly named office won’t focus on assistance alone, “but on the policy issues because DFA of course still has a privy role in defining policy.”

The DMW, on the other hand, will be for the regulation of deployment and deciding on imposing a deployment ban on certain countries.

De Vega sampled that the brawling incident involving transgender Filipinos in Thailand was dealt with by the DFA because they were tourists and there wasn’t even a Philippine labor office in Bangkok.

The DMW was created by former president Rodrigo Duterte through Republic Act 11641 on Dec. 30, 2021. 

It is tasked to protect the rights and promote the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).


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