By Leslie Ann Aquino
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is expected to go to Libya next month to work for the release of the seven Filipino crewmen who were seized and detained there in 2017.
"There is a private initiative that we may be able to obtain their releases which will require me to visit Libya," he said in a press briefing, Tuesday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)
"I don't know why they have to ask me to go there personally," added Bello.
"Anyway, there is this development to that effect that I may go to Libya and work for the release of the seafarers," he said.
The labor chief revealed that the trip would have been in the next few days but that it had to be delayed for weeks.
“Originally, we were talking of late January. But it does not appear to be that way anymore since it’s too close already," Bello said.
"I will probably go there in mid-February. I may have to spend Valentine’s Day there,” he added.
In 2017, a total of 20 Filipino crewmen of Greek-owned oil tanker, MT Levante, were seized and detained in Libya after being accused of being involved in smuggling.
Thirteen of them have already been freed after charges were dropped. However, seven of them remain detained at a jail facility.