Department of Labor and Employment
June 29, 2022
DOLE gains a challenge to keep for next gov’t
The gains achieved by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the past six years serve as a challenge for the incoming administration of elected President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.
The admission came from incoming Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan ‘Toots’ Ople during yesterday’s inauguration of the country’s first OFW-dedicated medical institution in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Ople was keynote speaker for the special occasion which signals the highly anticipated opening of the OFW Hospital – a 100-bed and 6-story facility with state of the art equipment and competent personnel to serve the medical needs of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families for free.
Introduced by outgoing Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Ople said the OFW Hospital is one of the many important undertakings of DOLE which the next government would be challenged to sustain.
“DOLE has made a lot of projects that would be a challenge for us,” Ople said.
Ople will join other key executives chosen by Marcos to run his Cabinet in assuming their posts after the inauguration of President Duterte’s successor tomorrow.
The DMW was created to centralize its services for OFWs. The move aims to put all OFW-related agencies under one department. They include the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) which are about to be fully detached from DOLE.
“I’m happy that aside from the OFW Hospital and other projects of DOLE, we will be inheriting more from the outgoing administration,” Ople said, referring to POEA chief Bernard Olalia and OWWA head Hans Leo Cacdac. During her speech, she announced both Olalia and Cacdac will join her to lead DMW.
Among other executives, the two officials are key to Bello’s fruitful reign in DOLE which saw the massive and successful repatriation of more than a million OFWs affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under Bello, the Labor Department also maintained industrial peace in the country by promoting tripartism among the workers, employers, and the government.
Despite the challenges brought by the global health outbreak, Bello led DOLE in delivering the government’s mandate to help distressed workers via its initiatives topped by the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.
Bello also initiated the assistance program called AKAP for OFWs displaced by the pandemic. Close to 600,000 OFWs benefited from the program. ### OD