Gov’t expected to enforce repatriation plans for OFWs in Tripoli—Villanueva
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva said on Wednesday that concerned government agencies are being expected to implement repatriation plans and arrange relocation for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Tripoli and nearby areas.
This after the Department of Foreign Affairs raised the alert level 4, or mandatory repatriation, in Tripoli and nearby areas, as fight for control in the Libyan capital continues to intensify.
“Now that the status in Libya has been raised to Alert Level 4, we expect our government agencies particularly OUMWA (Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs), POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) and DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) to implement the repatriation plan and make relocation arrangements for our OFWs,” he said in a statement.
Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said he acknowledges the fears of OFWs and the uncertainty of their employment.
But as in previous cases, he said DOLE can negotiate with employers to allow Filipino workers to take a leave until the situation in the country normalizes, and shoulder costs of repatriation as indicated in the employment contract.
“DOLE should also ensure that Libyan employers guarantee the safety and security of OFWs who choose to stay behind and work,” he said.
“DOLE, considering they have to profile of our OFWs in Libya, likewise must seek out alternative employment to OFWs either in an identified 3rd country or here in the Philippines,” he added.
The senator likewise urged concerned agencies to make appropriate disclosures if there is no security risk on repatriation protocol for the benefit of the families of the OFWs here in the country.
He said the government should be ready to help the OFWs transition smoothly by providing all necessary forms of assistance including alternative jobs and livelihood until the situation in Libya returns to normal. /je
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