By Roy Mabasa
Despite the ongoing civil strife in Libya, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has promised to look into the request of the United Nations-backed Libyan government to allow the deployment of more Filipino workers, particularly nurses, to that war-torn African country.
Locsin relayed this message to visiting Libyan Health Minister Ahmed Mohamed Omar, who paid him a courtesy at the DFA office in Pasay City on Tuesday.
At the meeting, Locsin expressed his appreciation for the kind hospitality that Libya has been extending to the more than 2,300 Filipinos still working there.
He also acknowledged the steps being taken by the Libyan government to address the concerns over remittances and salaries of Filipino nurses and other workers.
Minister Omar’s visit to the Philippines includes meeting with officials of the Department of Labor and Employment and tour of some pharmaceutical companies in Manila. He was accompanied by Libyan Embassy in Manila Chargé d’Affaires Ahmed Eddeb.
It was not clear, however, if the Philippine government would order the lifting of an existing deployment ban of Filipino workers to Libya which took effect in April this year following the offensive launched by the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
In early April, Haftar launched an offensive to capture the country’s capital, and has, since then, engaged the internationally recognized Government of National Accord in a protracted battle in and around Tripoli.
Since the toppling of the late Muammar Khadafi in 2011, Libya has been divided into various political and military factions, mostly based in the capital Tripoli and in the east.
Currently, Libya is being led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj of the GNA which is based in the capital.
Haftar, on the other hand, controls much of the eastern part of Libya and reportedly enjoys support from some of its neighboring countries.