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60 More Filipinos Returned Home From Libya—DOLE

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported on Sunday that sixty more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have returned to the country during the past three days from terror-stricken Libya.

To date, a little more than 800 OFWs have availed of the government’s free repatriation program. At least 624 of the OFWs have been “directly assisted” by the agency through its Assist WELL (welfare, employment, livelihood, and legal matters) program.

DOLE said 15 OFWs were scheduled to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1 last night, August 3. New repatriates are in the DOLE’s master list, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

Baldoz also said in a statement that “officers of the Repatriation Assistance Division of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and representatives of the Libya Quick Reaction Team, headed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, will be at the airport to ensure that the repatriates get proper assistance.”

Immigration and exit formalities at the NAIA, temporary accommodation at the OWWA hostel in Pasay City, bus and boat fares for repatriates who are going back to the provinces, emergency medical assistance, and stress debriefing are among the services OWWA-led welfare assistance committee had been instructed to provide the arriving OFW repatriates, Baldoz said.

The DOLE, she said, has been “working to ensure an effective and successful reintegration of OFWs repatriated from crisis and emergency situations in their countries of deployment by reaching out to them through the distribution of flyers containing relevant and useful information (about the agency’s services).”

“We want to effectively convey to all OFW repatriates that the government is prepared to welcome them in their own country and ready to address their welfare, employment, livelihood and legal needs after they arrive,” Baldoz added.

The government’s repatriation program started in June. There were an estimated 13,120 Filipinos in Libya at the time.

The labor department and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are repeatedly appealing to the more than 12,000 OFWs still in Libya to return home.

Baldoz urged them to get in touch with the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Tripoli and “use the services of OWWA’s 24/7 operations center” and sign up for the repatriation program.

The diplomatic mission and POLO’s address in the Libyan capital is Km. 7, Gargaresh Road, Abu Nawas district. Contact numbers are (00218) 918-244-208 and (00218) 911-061-166.

According to Baldoz, the agency has been closely monitoring the situation in Libya through POLO.

Alert Level 4, which calls for the mandatory repatriation of Filipinos in Libya, is in force, according to the DFA.