DOF backs proposed OFW department

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — The Department of Finance (DOF) supports the bill seeking the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos, DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Wednesday.

He made the assurance after Senator Joel Villanueva, one of the proponents of Senate Bill 2234, said some economic advisers have contested the move.

“On this particular department, we have written our comment, and we’ve said we support it,” Dominguez said during a Senate Committee on Finance hearing on the DOF’s proposed budget for 2022.

The measure has been certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

According to Villanueva, the department will serve as the go-to agency for all OFWs’ concerns, including on recruitment, red tape, regulation, emergency response, repatriation and reintegration.

Lawmakers, however, have previously pointed out the huge amount needed to set up the new government entity.

The estimated minimum requirement is over ₱1.1 billion, according to the Budget Department's Systems and Productivity Improvement. It said this only covers personal services, maintenance and operating expenses, and capital outlay.

There are also questions on its necessity, as Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles confirmed the proposed OFW department will not really engage in any new activity and simply “integrate everything into one.”

READ: Senators still confused about proposed OFW dep't