OFW repatriates from Libya reach 269 in June

Date Posted: July 22nd, 2014 03:12 AM

The arrival of 32 more overseas Filipino workers from civil strife-torn Libya over the weekend has brought the total number of repatriates to 269.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz bared this based on an update report of the Repatriation Assistance Division of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

"The 32 workers arrived from Libya on board Emirates flight EK 332," Baldoz said, adding that OWWA personnel at the NAIA attended to the repatriates with DOLE's welfare and reintegration services.

The OWWA reported that the repatriates were mostly employed by the Tripoli Carpet Factory. The company shouldered the cost of their plane tickets and processed the issuance of their exit visas and other travel documents.

 

Baldoz expressed relief that the 32 OFWs arrived safely.

"Their loved ones will be most happy to see them back," she said.

Representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs joined OWWA personnel in welcoming the Libya repatriates at NAIA and in briefing them on the services under the national reintegration program. The OWWA also provided the repatriates meet-and-greet services and facilitated their immigration exit clearances.

It also provided transportation money to those going home to the provinces and free door-to-door transport to those who live in Metro Manila. It brought to the OWWA Halfway Home for free accommodation those who planned to stay a bit longer in Metro Manila.

A total of 269 repatriated OFWs from Libya have returned home following the government’s call for voluntary repatriation when the crisis in that country continued to escalate. According to the OWWA’s Repatriation Assistance Division, those who arrived over the weekend were the eighth batch of Filipino repatriates.

Five of the 269 repatriates were female and only one has been identified as un-documented. Baldoz had urged all the remaining OFWs in Libya to get in touch with the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Tripoli and avail themselves of the voluntary repatriation program of the government, urging them use of the services of the OWWA's 24/7 Operations Center.

There are at least 13,122 Filipinos in Libya, most of them male skilled workers employed in the construction, oil, medical, and services sectors.

Meanwhile, the labor and employment chief instructed OWWA chief Rebecca Calzado and Director Violeta Munoz of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs to see to it that the repatriates' prospective plans after coming home from their work abroad so that the DOLE can focus on the assistance to be given them.

She issued the instruction after some of the repatriates expressed preference to avail of DOLE livelihood assistance, while others opt to be assisted with job referrals for abroad. Still others requested refund of unpaid salaries and placement fees.

"The protection of OFWs is a major mandate of the DOLE. It protects and promotes the rights and welfare of OFWs and their families through the provision of social, economic, and legal programs and services in pursuit of President Aquino III's economic vision of 'a government that creates jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity; and when its citizens do choose to become OFWs, their welfare and protection will still be the government's priority," Baldoz concluded.

END

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