Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reiterated on Thursday that the deployment ban to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not been lifted, adding that the newly created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) cannot impose any policy pending the full constitution of the new department.
In a fresh rebuke of appointive DMW Secretary Abdullah Mama-o, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea upheld Bello’s stance maintaining the status quo, including the suspension of processing of newly hired household service workers bound for Saudi Arabia.
In a memorandum issued last week, Medialdea again advised Mama-o that the DMW has yet to be fully constituted and therefore cannot impose any policy on any agency that the new department would subsume later on.
Medialdea was referring to DMW Department Order No. 4, Series of 2022 dated April 25, which purportedly lifted the ban on deployment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), and DMW Advisory No. 3, Series of 2022 dated April 18, which enumerated the insurance providers accredited by the Insurance Commission to provide enhanced insurance coverage to OFWs.
“Considering that the DMW has not been constituted yet, the DMW Secretary may not impose any policy on the government entities/agencies enumerated in Section 19 of RA No. 11641, since the said entities/agencies continue to exist separately until the DMW is constituted,” the memorandum stated.
Under Section 23 of the DMW law, the DMW could not be constituted without an appropriation in the 2023 General Appropriations Act, as well as the implementing rules and regulations, and a staffing pattern.
In a separate letter to Mama-o, Medialdea reiterated that the implementing rules and regulations submitted by the Transition Committee was approved by the President and was cleared with him prior to its publication.
Bello earlier clarified that the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Governing Board did not impose a ban on the deployment of migrant workers to KSA.
The Labor chief clarified that he merely directed the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Riyadh, Al Khobar, and Jeddah to temporarily suspend the verification of employment documents of newly-hired household service workers bound for the Middle East kingdom.