Raffy Tulfo: Give DMW secret funds to fight illegal recruitment
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Raffy Tulfo on Monday pushed the allocation of confidential funds to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) as he stressed the need to stop illegal recruitment.
For 2024, the DMW is asking for a P15.542-billion budget, which does not contain confidential funds.
But Tulfo said a secret fund for the DWM would be necessary to combat illegal recruitment that endangers the lives of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
“There are so many illegal recruiters and illegal recruitment agencies that must be hunted down. There are so many scammers who are victimizing OFWs. Most OFWs return here without money because they are cheated by scammers,” the chair of the Senate committee on migrant workers pointed out.
Tulfo said the DMW can start with a small confidential fund of around P25 million-P50 million.
“Hindi ako pumapalag na ang ibang ahensya ng gobyerno ay nabibigyan ng confidential fund. Hindi ako umiimik dyan [pero] para sa akin, siguro ay panahon na para mabigyan ng confidential fund ang DMW,” he also said during the panel’s deliberation of the DMW’s proposed 2024 budget.
(I do not react that other government agencies are given confidential funds. I keep silent about it, but I think it’s time to give confidential funds to DMW.)
Officer-in-charge Hans Leo Cacdac disclosed that DMW’s current operations and surveillance division has the capacity to shut down illegal recruitment agencies, but they cannot conduct arrests.
On the other hand, DMW Undersecretary for Licensing and Adjudication Services Bernard Olalia said the beauty of the confidential funds provision is that its use would not be limited to local operations.
“We also have international operations where our migrant workers offices should also be with us in the fight against illegal recruitment and trafficking in persons. They also need confidential funds,” Olalia asserted.
Tulfo, however, advised the DMW to ensure that the confidential funds – if granted – will be used effectively. Otherwise, he said, he will personally get back at DMW.