THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is set to submit its recommendations regarding the proposed Department of Overseas Workers within the month, after submitting an initial draft in July.

Speaking to reporters, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said when asked for a submission timeline: “Anytime this month but our focus is really the budget hearings,” he said, referring the ongoing budget hearings at the House. The proposed 2020 National Budget of P4.1 trillion is due to be approved by the chamber in October.

Mr. Bello said that DoLE will also clear its position regarding the proposed Overseas Workers Department with Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea.

“We are mandated to coordinate our position with Secretary Medialdea,” Mr. Bello said.

Establishing a Department of Overseas Filipinos was one of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s State of the National Address (SONA) priorities for 2019. His former aide and current Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go filed a bill in July that will create the department, abolishing all current agencies that deal with overseas Filipinos.

In DoLE’s version of the bill, current agencies and commissions dealing with overseas Filipinos will be retained and absorbed by the proposed department. — Gillian M. Cortez