The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has imposed a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to Libya owing to the worsening civil unrest there.
Relatedly, Vice President Jejomar Binay reiterated his appeal for OFWs in the Middle East country to come home given the worsening conditions there.
In a statement, Binay called on the Filipinos in Libya not to take chances with their safety and return to the Philippines immediately.
He advised Filipinos in Libya to contact the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli to coordinate their repatriation and said the government will be shouldering the repatriation cost.
The Philippine Embassy in Libya is in KM 7 Gargaresh Road, Abu Nawas, Tripoli. Its hotline number is (+218) 918244208, telephone number (+218-21) 483-3966, and official e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, who chairs the POEA governing board, said they have imposed a total deployment ban to Libya after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had raised crisis alert level 3 in Libya.
She added that the ban covers the processing and deploying of all OFWs bound for Libya.
“We have received a communication from the DFA Secretary on the new crisis alert level in Libya. Thus, the Governing Board decided to impose a total deployment ban on the processing and deployment of all OFWs bound for that country,” Baldoz said in a statement.
Also, under the DFA’s Crisis Alert Level 3 or voluntary repatriation phase, OFWs and/or Filipino nationals in the Middle East country are encouraged to voluntarily leave as soon as possible.
Despite the worsening safety condition in Libya, Baldoz said, “there is no need yet to send a DOLE augmentation team to Libya.”
However, the labor chief said the department was ready to send officials if the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) would request assistance.
“Our OFWs in Libya are highly skilled and this affords them protection. Based on our experience, OFWs in Libya are highly aware of their situation and this makes it easier for the government to deal with security and protection issues concerning them,” she said.
Meanwhile, the DOLE secretary urged the OFWs to stay calm and take extra precautionary measures to ensure their welfare and safety.
POEA records show that deployment of new hires to Libya had increased from 281 in 2012 to 4,093 in 2013.
“In terms of deployment, Libya has an almost equal number of professional workers, technical and related workers, production and transport equipment workers and laborers [from the Philippines],” the POEA said.
Total rehires (balik-manggagawa) and new hires in Libya as of end-2013 reached 9,754, assuming that the rehires in 2013 still have live contracts.