By Ferdinand Patinio, PNA
MANILA — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday ordered a total deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Libya.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued the order upon the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) amid the escalating violence in the North African country.
“Upon the advice of the DFA, we are imposing a deployment ban of workers to Libya to ensure their safety and security and to avoid getting caught in the escalating violence in Libya,” he said in a statement.
Bello noted that they are in coordination with DFA to closely monitor the situation and assess the possible repatriation of OFWs, to ensure the workers’ safety and security.
“DOLE is ready to provide repatriation assistance to our Filipino workers who will signify interest to come home,” he said.
“An augmentation team will be dispatched this week to ensure the welfare of our workers, and assist their possible repatriation. Also, we are prepared for any exigency of forced repatriation if the situation deteriorates,” Bello added.
On Monday, DFA raised Alert Level 3 in Tripoli and some areas within a 100-kilometer radius of the capital, which is considered as voluntary repatriation phase.
The implementation of the deployment ban will take effect until the situation normalizes, or until further advice by the DFA.
The DOLE is in constantly assessing the situation and will issue appropriate advisories from time to time.
The reintegration assistance from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) awaits OFWs who may be repatriated from Libya.
There are around 2,600 documented OFWs in Libya, mostly professionals, composed of medical workers and skilled workers. (PNA)