22 more OFWs arrive from Libya; repatriates reach 527

Date Posted: July 25th, 2014 08:20 AM


22 more OFWs arrive from Libya; repatriates reach 527 Twenty two more OFWs who had left Tripoli on 23 July have arrived in Manila, bringing to 527 the total number of OFWs who had voluntarily asked to be repatriated due to the Libyan crisis, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said yesterday. Citing a report of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Rebecca Calzado, Baldoz said the 22 OFWs exited Libya through Tunisia. "The 22 OFWs arrived on four separate flights from Dubai, with the first batch of nine workers on board flight EK 332 and EK 334 arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 4:35 P.M. and 10:10 P.M. on Friday, and the second batch of thirteen workers on board flight EK 336 and EK 332 on Saturday," Baldoz said. Baldoz said the DOLE, through its concerned agencies, have provided the repatriated OFWs the proper assistance immediately upon their arrival in Manila. "The package of assistance is under the newly-adopted Assist WELL program, which seeks to address the Welfare, Employment, Livelihood, and Legal needs of repatriated OFWs from crisis-wracked destinations or due to emergencies," said Baldoz. The Assist WELL Program, adopted through D.O. No. 139, Series of 2014, is a convergent program of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Worker’s Welfare Administration, Bureau of Local Employment, Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, International Labor Affairs Bureau, and Labor Communications Office, that seeks to ensure the successful reintegration of OFWs repatriated due to conflict and other emergencies. Under the Assist WELL, the wholistic assistance and services are as follows: • Welfare Assistance covers airport assistance, temporary shelter accommodation, transport assistance to residence, emergency medical assistance, and stress debriefing; • Employment Assistance facilitates job placement/referral for local and overseas employment, and competency assessment and certification for repatriated workers; • Livelihood Assistance includes entrepreneurial development training, livelihood skills training, hands-on business mentoring and support, and business loan assistance; and • Legal Assistance provides legal advice, conciliation proceedings, assistance in complaint preparation for illegal recruitment and other recruitment violations and disciplinary action cases, counseling during preliminary investigations and hearings of criminal cases for illegal recruitment. The on-going repatriation of OFWs from Libya comes after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board approved and issued Resolution No. 17, Series of 2014, imposing a total ban in the processing and deployment of Filipino workers to Libya. The resolution was based on the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs who had raised the Crisis Alert Level in Libya from Crisis Alert Level 3 to Crisis Alert Level 4 last 18 July due to the worsening civil unrest in Libya and the continued deterioration of the peace and order situation in that country that putting Filipino workers in precarious condition. In the country's alert level system, Crisis Alert Level 4 is Mandatory Repatriation Phase and is issued if there is a large-scale conflict or full-blown external attack and the government undertakes mandatory repatriation procedures. Baldoz reminded OFWs that under the Alert Level 4, a total ban on the processing and deployment of all workers shall be imposed. Labor chief instructed the DOLE Quick Response Team to closely coordinate with the representatives from DFA on the immediate and safe repatriation of more OFWs in response to Libya crisis. END/ Stella P. Bañares

Created Aug 26th 2014, 13:31


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