DFA lowers alert level in Libya
FOREIGN Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the government’s mandatory repatriation of workers from Libya had been lifted but the deployment ban to that war-torn country was still in force.
In a statement, Yasay however said Filipino workers with valid and existing contracts are guaranteed that they will be allowed to return to Libya if they wish.
Yasay approved on Sept. 2 the lowering of the crisis alert level in Libya from level 4, which directs mandatory repatriation or evacuation, to level 2, which imposes restrictions.
The downgrading was based on the recommendation of the Security Assessment Team of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) which was in Tripoli from Aug. 9 to 13.
The Philippines has an existing deployment ban to war-stricken countries such as Libya, Iraq and Syria since the Arab Spring in 2011.
The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs said that at least 23,000 Filipino workers had been repatriated since then, mostly from Libya.
The DFA said in a statement that alert level 2 is issued if there are threats to the life, security and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbances, instability and/or external threats.
“Under this alert level, Filipinos are instructed to restrict nonessential movements, avoid public places and prepare for evacuation.
The Middle East and East African region is host to more than three million of the 10 million Filipino overseas workers, with an estimated 1.2 million of them in Saudi Arabia.
The DFA statement said a total of 5,775 overseas workers from Libya had been repatriated since May 2014.
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