By Analou De Vera
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is appealing to Filipino workers in Libya to accept the government’s repatriation program amid escalating violence in the African state.
“We have been appealing to them to go [to] the embassy for immediate repatriation,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
The labor chief said that he is planning to hire a former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official as consultant to lead the DOLE’s augmentation team that was already sent to Libya.
“Meron na kaming augmentation team doon composed of three administrative staff and three welfare officer. And then, I am planning to hire as consultant yung former DFA official who have a long experience in handling the Libyan problem to lead yung team na iyon [We have already an augmentation team there composed of three administrative staff and three welfare officer. And then, I am planning to hire as consultant a former DFA official who have a long experience in handling the Libyan problem, to lead the (augmentation) team],” he said.
Bello said they already have the addresses of the Filipino workers in Tripoli.
“Meron na. Kinuha na ng aming labor attaché [We have. The labor attache already got it],” he said.
“At saka yung karamihan doon willing na pero may mga iba din na ayaw pang umuwi kasi di pa nila nakukuha yung suweldo nila for one year [And most of them are now willing (to be repatriated), though some still refuse because they have not received their salaries for one year],” he added.
Bello assured that they will “handle the collection” of workers’ salaries and provide financial assistance.
“Ang explanation ng aming labor attaché is that we will handle yung collection ng kanilang salary. In the meantime, when they come home para hindi naman sila penniless we would give them financial assistance and consider giving them loan [The explanation of our labor attache is that we will handle the collection of their salary. In the meantime when they come home we would give them financial assistance and consider giving them loan],” he said.
The labor department said there are over 2,600 documented Filipino workers in Libya.