17 NorMin OFWs home from Libya

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014


SEVENTEEN of the 800 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been repatriated due to the ongoing conflict in Libya are residents of Northern Mindanao.

The workers were sent home after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced last July 20, 2014 alert level 4 in Libya after fighting that involved government troops and the militia who want to control key facilities in some parts of the country.

The fighting between Islamists and the forces of a renegade general has also contributed to the increasing death toll.

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In a published report, it said one of the casualties during the firefight was a Filipino construction worker who was abducted in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, by an unknown group and later beheaded. A Filipino nurse was also gang-raped in Tripoli.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Authority in the region (Owwa-10) announced that those who flew on and after the date DFA increased the situation’s alert level will receive P10,000 cash and starter kits for those who got out of Libya before the date.

“Those who fled from Libya on and before July 19 are given assistance through starter kits worth P10,000. But for those who flew on July 20, they are given cash,” OWWA-10 officer-in-charge Harry Borres said Monday.

Some 800 OFWs arrived in Manila last August 16 and briefed by Vice President Jejomar Binay upon arrival.

Their repatriation was facilitated by the Filipino embassy in Libya, OWWA, and Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) in a three-day mass evacuation by air and sea.

They were picked up in ports of Benghazi, brought to Malta by ship and by a chartered plane back to Manila.

Borres said that some of the workers who are traumatized underwent psychological debriefing.

There are still 10,000 Filipino workers in Libya who are reluctant to apply for the repatriation because of the higher compensation the country could give compared here in the country.

“Most of the workers in Libya are in hospitals as nurses, doctors and those who man the hospitals mismo. It is very difficult to pull them out because they are paid in Libya higher than in the Philippines. But it is the government’s job too to get them out from conflict-stricken countries. We will continue to get those 10,000 Filipino workers out there who have chosen to remain despite the war,” Borres said.

There are 248 repatriates from region 10 who arrived from Libya, but only 17 have arrived home in the region.

“The 17 Filipino workers have already received their relief cash assistance. The rest are still housed in Owwa hostel in Pasay City where their documents are processed. Although, it is outright that upon their arrival their cash assistance be distributed, but we are still processing their documents pa,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 19, 2014.

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