Labor chief reaffirms repatriation team to be sent to Libya

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Silvestre H. Bello III

LABOR SECRETARY Silvestre H. Bello III reaffirmed an earlier announcement that it will send an augmentation team that will supervise the repatriation of overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in conflict-stricken areas of Libya.

“Sinabi ko dapat before Thursday or Friday (I said the team should be deployed by Thursday or Friday),” Mr. Bello told reporters on Tuesday, following an advisory by the Department of Foreign of Affairs (DFA) on the situation in Tripoli.

He added, “We are sending an augmentation team composed of three administration staff (members) and three welfare officers.”

The DFA upgraded the crisis level from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 or Voluntary Repatriation phase in the Libyan capital. Also covered under the Alert Level 3 are areas within the 100 kilometer radius of Tripoli: Tajoura, Ghot Romman, Qaraboli, Qasr Khiyar, Esbea, Tarhuna, Bani Waled, Gharyan, Aziziya, Warshifana, Zawia, Surman, and Sabratha.

With the exception of Tripoli and the cited locations in its outskirts, Level 2 crisis alert or restriction phase remains elsewhere in Libya.

“Only four OFWs have expressed their desire to come back (and it shows) hindi pa serious ang situation (the situation isn’t serious),” the Labor Chief said.

Last week, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued Governing Board Resolution (GBR)03-2019 calling for a total deployment ban of OFWs to the North African state. — Gillian M. Cortez