The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) cannot touch the 2022 budget of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
This was the assertion made by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) after DMW Secretary Abdullah Mama-o, who has barely weeks in office, sought to disburse the remaining funds of the POEA this year.
In a letter to Mama-o, DBM officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie Canda told the DMW it has no authority to use the POEA budget because the agency is not yet fully constituted.
Still possessing such authority instead is the POEA, Canda said in the letter dated May 31, 2022.
“With respect to the authority to utilize the FY 2022 POEA budget, it is emphasized that the DMW shall be fully constituted if the conditions under Section 23 of RA No. 11641, as reiterated under Section 56 of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) are complied with,” Canda explained.
The law identifies three conditions for the DMW to be fully constituted. They are 1) an appropriation in the FY 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA), 2) an effective IRR, and 3) a staffing pattern.
However, Canda said the appropriation in the FY 2023 GAA and staffing pattern of DMW are still in process. “Since it did not meet the clear requirements of the law, there will be no complete transfer of funds unless and until now the DMW is fully constituted,” she explained.
Considering the mentioned premises, Canda said it follows that the POEA, whose functions are supposed to be assumed by DMW when the latter becomes operational, will not outrightly lose its authority to use its 2022 budget.
The DBM said that since the DMW is currently undergoing a two-year transition period and is not yet fully constituted, the affected agencies including the POEA continue to exist separately. “They shall perform their respective mandates until the complete constitution of the DMW,” she said.
Canda noted in her letter that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea earlier expressed the same position in his separate message to Mama-o.
Section 29, Chapter 6, Book IV of EO No. 292 states that the head of office shall exercise overall authority in matters within the jurisdiction, including those relating to its operations, and enforce all laws and regulations pertaining to it.
“Hence, applying the same in the instant case, POEA Administrator Olalia, being the head of office of the POEA, shall continue to exercise authority on its operations until the full constitution of the DMW,” she said.