OFWs coming home from conflict zones should be allowed to return to workplaces – Locsin

Published November 10, 2019, 2:54 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Roy Mabasa 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Sunday has threatened to “slap” any government agency representative stationed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport who will try to stop overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from returning to their workplaces after spending Christmas vacation in the Philippines.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit / MANILA BULLETIN)
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit / MANILA BULLETIN)

Locsin made this threat in a tweet following appeals from returning OFWs or “Balik-manggagawa” working in conflict areas like Libya to allow them to return to their respective job sites after enjoying the holiday season and fulfill their other family-related obligations.

“I repeat my last year’s promise: if any agency stops their return to conflict zones I will accompany them to the airport, slap the agents and show our OFWs to their airline seats. Watch out,” Locsin said in a social media post.

Locsin further said that he and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III believe that allowing OFWs to come home, and eventually go back to conflict zones where they work is “proof of our intellectual superiority.”

“So they go back to danger but if you didn’t let them come home, they’ll die without memory of X’mas w/ family. Our way they die with smiles on their faces,” he tweeted.

Most of the remaining OFWs in war-torn Libya are working in oil fields and various medical facilities.

Last year, the DFA has recommended the conditional exemption of other land-based OFWs in Libya from the previous total deployment ban being imposed by the Philippine government following the heightened hostilities in that country.

In recommending the conditional exemption, Locsin sided with the request of the OFWs, saying that it is a “laughable proposition” for the government in Manila to know better than those who are actually working abroad.

“He (OFW) has to book flights, file leaves & if he doesn’t get any clarity ‘Xmas is gone and & he has to wait another year. He can go home another time but when else are u and ur kids off at the same time?” the DFA chief said in a tweet last year.