The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has formed a “Libyan Crisis Response Team” that will ensure the safety and welfare of overseas Filipino workers amid the worsening civil unrest in Libya.
“I have created this quick response team in view of the continuing deterioration of the political and security situation in Libya as indicated by the decision of the Department of Foreign Affairs to raise the crisis alert level status for Libya from Crisis Alert Level 2 (Restriction Phase) to Crisis Alert Level 3 (Voluntary Repatriation Phase),” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, who chairs the POEA governing board, said.
In a statement, the DOLE said the team was created after the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Libya. The deployment ban to the Middle Eastern country followed the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) raising of Crisis Alert 3 or voluntary repatriation there.
The team will also submit reports and recommendations to the secretary through the Office of the Undersecretary for Employment, the statement said.
The DOLE’s International Labor Affairs Bureau will provide secretariat services to the Libyan Crisis Quick Response Team, while other attached agencies of the department including the POEA and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) will lend operational, administrative and other technical support requirements “as well as staff if necessary.”
“Members of the Libyan Crisis Quick Response Team are instructed to prepare for possible deployment to Libya as augmentation team should the need arise,” Baldoz said.
POEA records show that there are 12,000 OFWs in Libya, 4,000 of whom are permanent residents, 4,000 are balik-manggagawa or re-hires and 4,000 new hires.
The number of OFWs in Libya increased from 281 in 2012 to 4,093 in 2013.
Most OFWs there are professional workers, technical and related workers, production and transport equipment workers, and laborers.