Migrant workers chief slams Bello for blocking order to reassign POEA officers


MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the newly-created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has slammed labor secretary Silvestre Bello III for blocking the order to reassign the officials and employees of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

In a letter sent to Bello’s office, DMW Secretary Abdullah Mama-o said the labor secretary has “no business” in preventing the reassigning and designation of 16 POEA officials, mostly division chiefs and directors, to new assignments.

“With regard to your attached latest interfering memo to the offices and staff in the erstwhile POEA, with all due respect, you have no legal basis to claim that the DMW does not yet exist,” Mama-o said in his letter dated May 24.

“You have … no business giving orders to any and all the officers and personnel of the erstwhile POEA,” Mama-o also said, addressing Bello.

Bello, in a memo sent to POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia on May 23, said Mama-o cannot order the reassignment of any officials and employees of the POEA since the agency continues to exist separately to perform their respective mandates until the full constitution of DMW.

READ: Bello blocks DMW order to reassign POEA officers

In December 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the measure establishing the Department of Migrant Workers which is dedicated to overseeing the affairs and protecting the rights of millions of OFWs.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, however, said that the agency would have to be fully constituted by, among other things, having its own appropriation in the 2023 General Appropriations Act, its own implementing rules and regulations, and its own staffing pattern.

READ: Department of Migrant Workers not yet fully constituted

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