Senate panel approves ₱15.54B budget for DMW

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18) – The Senate finance committee on Monday approved a ₱15.54 billion budget for the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) for 2024.

The budget deliberation for DMW resumed after it was suspended last Sept. 11 as the agency requested to realign its budget of ₱5.1 billion from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to its Office of the Secretary.

The realignment came after senators flagged OWWA’s unutilized funds.

DMW Usec. Maria Anthonette Allones earlier explained that OWWA has a low utilization rate because the remaining funds were standby funds for repatriation operations.

“As of the end of August 2023, we’re actually at 70% budget utilization. On track naman kami (We’re on track),” Allones told senators.

“Rest assured na (that) between now and the end of the year, we will be able to utilize the remaining budget with our catch-up plans,” she added.

“We’re asking you to give us flexibility on how we spend the funds. With the flexibility we’re asking for, we can fully complement our support to the DMW,” OWWA Administrator Arnell Ignacio said during the same hearing last Sept. 11.

Despite requesting a ₱29.49-billion budget, DMW was only granted ₱15.54B, the same amount the Department of Budget and Management allocated in the 2024 National Expenditure Program.

Senator Raffy Tulfo earlier pushed to restore the confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) proposed by the DMW and even double it to ₱20 to ₱25 million to address human trafficking and job scams. However, the requested CIF was not included in the approved budget of the Senate.

READ: Tulfo wants DMW intel funds restored, doubled to address trafficking, scams