OWWA, POEA chiefs moved as undersecretaries of new department for migrant workers 

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has appointed Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Leo J. Cacdac as one of the undersecretaries for the new department focusing on migrant Filipino workers.   

OWWA is one of the agencies that will eventually be absorbed by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), which is set to be fully operational in 2023.   

Mr. Cacdac will be DMW undersecretary for Welfare and Foreign Employment.

In the meantime, Arnell A. Ignacio, a comedian who had previously served as an OWWA deputy administrator during the previous administrator, will be heading the agency, Press Secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” L. Cruz-Angeles said in a statement.  

Ms. Cruz-Angeles also said Mr. Marcos picked Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) administrator Bernard P. Olalia as DMW undersecretary for Licensing and Adjudication. 

“He will be the OIC (officer-in charge) of POEA until such time that the department is deemed fully constituted on the approval of the 2023 budget.” 

POEA will also be incorporated into the new department.   

Also on Wednesday, DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” V. Ople said former labor assistant secretary Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones will serve as DMW undersecretary for Finance and Internal Affairs.  

Ms. Ople said Patricia Yvonne M. Caunan will be the undersecretary for Policy and International Cooperation. Ms. Caunan headed a law firm specializing in labor, civil, administrative, and criminal cases.  

The DMW chief said among the new officials of the agency is Venecio Legaspi, who worked in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as an overseas worker for 29 years. Mr. Lopez will serve as assistant secretary for reintegration.  

“Ka Vennie” rose from the ranks to become vice-president of a prominent Saudi bank Jeddah before retiring and joining DMW,” Ms. Ople said in a press release.   

Other appointed assistant secretaries are Jerome Pampolina, Levinson Alcantara, Jerome Alcantara, Francis Ron De Guzman, Felicitas Bay, and Violeta Illescas.

“This team under my leadership will work hardest to create a DMW that will be the home and sanctuary of every OFW (overseas Filipino workers),” Ms. Ople said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza