Following the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers (“DMW”) pursuant to Republic Act No. 11641, or the Department of Migrant Workers Act (“RA 11641”), the Department of Labor and Employment (“DOLE”) and the DMW issued Joint Circular No. 01, series of 2022 (the “Joint Circular”), on July 7, 2022, to facilitate and ensure the efficient and effective implementation of RA 11641. The Joint Circular covers the period of transition from the effectivity of RA 11641 until the DMW is fully constituted and operational. The Joint Circular covers the agencies which were consolidated or merged, or whose powers and functions were transferred from the DOLE to the DMW. The agencies included are the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (“POEA”), the Philippine Overseas Labor Officers (“POLOs”), the International Labor Affairs Bureau (“ILAB”), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (“OWWA”), the National Maritime Polytechnic (“NMP”), and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (“NRCO”) under the OWWA.
The Joint Circular mandates the creation of a Joint DOLE-DMW Management Committee to carry out the purposes of the Joint Circular, make recommendations to the DOLE and DMW Secretaries on appropriate actions to be taken from its implementation, and to monitor and ensure the full constitution of the DMW.
Governance, Supervision and Operation of Consolidated and Merged Agencies
The Joint Circular provides that during the transition period, or until further orders and issuances, all existing policies, rules, and regulations implemented by the covered agencies, including but not limited to the 2016 Revised POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment of Land-Based Overseas Filipino Workers and the 2016 Revised POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment of Sea-Based Overseas Filipino Workers, shall remain in full force and effect. The DMW Secretary shall exercise primary administrative control and supervision over the POEA, POLOs, ILAB, and NRCO, and shall exercise administrative supervision over the NMP and the OWWA.
Quasi-judicial Functions of the POEA and DOLE Secretary
The Joint Circular provides that the POEA Administrator shall continue to receive, hear, and decide all cases under his/her original jurisdiction, in accordance with existing rules, regulations, and procedures, while the DOLE Secretary shall continue to receive, hear, and decide all cases under his/her appellate jurisdiction, also in accordance with existing rules, regulations, and procedures.
Issuance of License to Recruitment and Manning Agencies
The Joint Circular provides that the authority of the DOLE Secretary to issue licenses to recruitment and manning agencies shall continue to be delegated to the POEA Administrator.