Home Migrant News Department of Migrant Workers Marks a Year of Progress Amid Challenges

Department of Migrant Workers Marks a Year of Progress Amid Challenges


MANILA, Philippines – In its first full year of operation, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has achieved significant milestones under the leadership of the late Secretary Susan Ople. Despite the challenges faced, the agency remains undeterred in its mission to protect the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and carry on Ople’s legacy.

The passing of Secretary Ople in August had a profound impact on the DMW, but it has only strengthened their determination to uphold her vision for OFWs. Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac, the officer-in-charge, emphasized the agency’s commitment to continuing Ople’s work and building on the progress made in 2023.

One of the key initiatives established by Ople was the One Repatriation Command Center, which ensured expedited government assistance for distressed OFWs. The DMW also forged international partnerships with organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to enhance the global competitiveness of Filipino workers and promote safe and fair labor mobility.

To address the increasing demand for Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs), the DMW pursued bilateral labor agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with 25 countries. Additionally, the agency launched the Japan desk in December 2023 to provide continuous support and protection for OFWs in Japan. (isabel Almonte)

The DMW’s efforts extended beyond documentation and repatriation. They formulated a comprehensive reintegration program aimed at providing returning OFWs and their families with livelihood assistance, educational scholarships, and training in financial literacy, entrepreneurial development, and techno-skills. This program will be fully implemented in 2024.

In combating illegal recruitment and human trafficking, the DMW conducted surveillance operations, implemented closure orders against fraudulent consultancy firms, and took down thousands of illegal recruitment posts on social media platforms. They also established the Agarang Kalinga at Saklolo para sa mga OFW na Nangangailangan (AKSYON) Fund to assist victims of trafficking and exploitation.

Looking ahead to 2024, the DMW plans to adopt a rights-based approach to migration policy and governance. They aim to enhance digitalization for the convenience of OFWs through the implementation of the OFW Pass. The agency will continue its efforts to prosecute illegal recruiters, forge more bilateral labor agreements, and establish additional Migrant Workers’ Offices and regional offices.

The accomplishments of the DMW in 2023 reflect the commitment and dedication of the agency in protecting the rights and welfare of OFWs. As they move forward, the DMW remains steadfast in its mission to ensure the safe and fair treatment of Filipino workers abroad while carrying the torch of Secretary Susan Ople’s legacy. (isabel Almonte)