TOP officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the newly formed Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) met on Tuesday to jumpstart the turnover of a more than two-decade old program for assisting distressed overseas Filipinos.  

The discussions involved the transition of functions, training for DMW personnel, exchange of information on processes and organization development, and cooperation between the two departments, DFA said in a statement on Tuesday.  

Migrant Workers Secretary Maria Susana V. Ople earlier said her department, which was formally created in 2022 and started full operations this year, is ready to take over the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) program by June.    

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo, for his part, affirmed that the DFA will work closely with the DMW to protect the rights, welfare and interest of overseas Filipinos.  

The ATN program, which began in 1995, has received recognition from other countries for its excellence in assisting distressed overseas Filipinos, mostly workers.  

The Philippines has also achieved and maintained the highest classification status in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report from 2017 to 2022. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan