DOLE implements total deployment ban of OFWs to Libya

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday announced the total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Libya, amid the ongoing firefight between factions in the 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,” Bello said in a statement.

This is pursuant to the resolution made by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) after consulting with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The deployment ban will be lifted “when the situation normalizes or until further advice by the DFA.”

Based on data from DOLE, there are 2,600 documented OFWs in Libya who are mostly medical and skilled workers.

A thousand of them are in the affected areas of Libya, according to Elmer Cato, Charge d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy to Libya.

Voluntary repatriation of OFWs was advised after the DFA declared Alert Level 3 in Tripoli and its immediate outskirts.

“DOLE is ready to provide repatriation assistance to our Filipino workers who will signify interest to come home. 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 said.

DOLE also assured that those who will be repatriated from Libya will receive reintegration assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). (GMA News)