DMW is not the answer to labor migration issues
The disruption at the newly created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) reported in the Inquirer and editorialized (Disruption at DMW,” 4/29/22) is unfortunate and could have been avoided if the creation of the department was at the outset deliberated upon judiciously, and without any motive that is superficial and purely political. In an earlier column, Raul Palabrica raised valid and pragmatic questions as to why DMW was created at all.
Now, the spectacle of the newly appointed DMW Secretary Abdullah Mama-o acting in a manner characterized by Sen. Franklin Drilon as a “king without a kingdom” is very disturbing when you consider that Mama-o is acting even if the DMW is not yet legally operational. It is even more chaotic to see him issue orders in opposition to Malacañang and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that has offended Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
In retrospect, while our hardworking overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deserve the very best treatment from the government, the creation of the DMW is not the answer. The DMW cannot do anything better than what DOLE is doing. The new department is superfluous and is going to duplicate the work of DOLE. Worse, it adds another layer to our bloated bureaucracy, which counts 19 executive departments, with five still being planned by Congress.
The simplest solution would have been to increase the annual budget of DOLE and incentivize competent and dedicated personnel to attend to our OFWs. After all, labor migration or the modern Filipino diaspora should be temporary, and national policy should remain full employment in the country so that our countrymen need not leave family and homeland for foreign shores to expose their lives, fortune, and honor to make a living.
ANCHETA K. TAN
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