Key DMW officials named

Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” V. Ople on Wednesday announced the appointment of key officials, describing them as “a mix of seasoned government officials and new faces who share a commitment to serve our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).”

“Together, we will make the DMW a secure home for our OFWs and their families,” Ople said.

Ople said that lawyers Attorneys Bernard P. Olalia and Hans Leo J. Cacdac are among the senior DMW officials, who will oversee the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), respectively.

As Undersecretary for Licensing and Adjudication Services, Olalia will start in his new position. When the DMW’s 2023 budget is approved, he will continue to serve as Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the POEA until that point. Olalia has more than five years of experience working for the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the POEA.

Cacdac will hold the position of Undersecretary for Welfare and Foreign Employment after spending a total of 21 years at the DoLE and OWWA. He will be in charge of the department’s Aksyon Fund, which will be utilized to assist overseas workers in need in various nations.

“This mix of familiar faces and new names reflect our desire for continuity and innovation. The DMW’s “dream team” is now in place, and we vow to serve our OFWs faithfully and with the utmost professionalism,” Ople said.

Seasoned officer

Undersecretary Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, who has spent 31 years in the civil service, is another seasoned officer. During the Arroyo administration, she served as the DoLE Assistant Secretary.
Before her most recent assignment, she was the director of the Tourism Promotion Board. As Undersecretary for Finance and Internal Affairs, she will join the DMW.

Lawyer Patricia Yvonne M. Caunan was the managing partner of a very successful law company that handled criminal, civil, and administrative cases in addition to labor law. She is a champion for the rights of migrant workers, offering free legal assistance and counsel in a variety of forums. As Undersecretary for Policy and International Cooperation, she joins the department.

Before being chosen as OWWA administrator, Arnell Ignacio served as the organization’s deputy administrator. In September 2021, he started serving as the OWWA deputy administrator. Additionally, he spent a year working with OWWA in 2018 before quitting for personal reasons. Ignacio, the administrator, has firsthand experience with migrant workers and is well aware of their suffering.

Venecio Legaspi, a former OFW who lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for 29 years and who will work as Assistant Secretary for Reintegration, is also one of the “fresh faces” joining Ople’s DMW Team.
Before retiring and joining the DMW, “Ka Vennie” worked his way up the ranks to become vice president of a prestigious Saudi bank in Jeddah.

Other key appointments include:

Jerome Alcantara — Assistant Secretary for Land-based services and concurrently Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary.
Levinson Alcantara — Assistant Secretary for Pre-employment Services.
Felicitas Bay — Assistant Secretary for Migrant Workers Welfare Services.
Francis Ron de Guzman — Assistant Secretary for Licensing and Adjudication Services.
Jerome Pampolina — Assistant Secretary Sea-based Services.
Violeta Illescas — Assistant Secretary for Internal Management and Administration.

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