OWWA Board of Trustees approves budget for ship, plane charters to transport OFWs from Libya

Date Posted: August 11th, 2014 12:48 AM


Update on OFW repatriation from Libya OWWA Board of Trustees approves budget for ship, plane charters to transport OFWs from Libya The OWWA Board of Trustees has approved the chartering of a ship that will transport OFWs from Libya to Malta and also the chartering of Philippine Airlines planes for special flights from Malta to Manila, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced yesterday. Secretary Baldoz is the Chairperson of the 12-member OWWA Board of Trustees. Baldoz, citing an update report from Welfare Officer Cynthia Lamban, said the welfare officer, representing the OWWA, had initially signed the contract for the ship's charter, together with Alex Polidano of Ocean Marine Services Ltd. The charter of the ship, M/S Bridge, will cost 1.4 million euros. Welof Lamban and Labor Attache Ramon Tionloc are in Malta providing coordinative support to the Philippine Rapid Response Team (RRT) helping in the repatriation of OFWs from Libya. In her report, Welof Lamban said that the M/S Bridge will sail for Benghazi to load OFW repatriate-passengers, then sail to Misrata to do the same before sailing back to Malta. The repatriation by ship is expected to be completed on 12 August. "I was informed that our RRT in Malta is exhausting all possible means to secure commercial flight bookings and accommodation for our OFWs while awaiting for their homeward travel to the Philippines. "Accommodation, particularly, poses a challenge to the RRT in Malta considering that the country at this time is at the peak of the tourist season," explained Baldoz, who also said that a travel agency executive estimated that it may take two weeks to complete airline bookings on a commercial flight for a thousand passengers. Relative to this, Baldoz said the OWWA Board of Trustees, of which she is the chair, has authorized the charter of planes for special flights to bring home OFWs from Libya. "The OWWA, headed by Administrator Rebecca Calzado could conclude and finalize the negotiations with Philippine Airlines for those special charter flights out of Malta," Baldoz said. Welof Lamban said she is regularly in touch with Consul General Rico Fos of the Philippine Mission in Geneva to obtain updates on the DFA negotiations with the IOM for support to the repatriation of OFWs from Libya. She also said several companies in Libya have been earnestly evacuating their Filipino workers out of Libya, citing Korean construction and auto giant Hyundai whose remaining 43 Filipino workers had left Malta and have arrived in the Philippines. On the same flight with the Hyundai workers were seven (7) OFWs who were working with Craddock Company. Other companies that have successfully evacuated their workers are Harouge, an oil operations firm, which evacuated 26 OFWs; Vaos Company, which had evacuated its workers who included 20 OFWs; and Ferroostal (formerly MAN) Company , which had evacuated its workers including another 20 OFWs. In another update, Lamban said a group of 26 OFWs employed by the BAM Oil and Gas Company have arrived in Malta from Libya and will arrive in Manila on 9 August onboard EK 336. Baldoz assured OFWs and their families that government officials and personnel are onsite to assist in the repatriation. "We have RRT, POLO, and DOLE-OWWA personnel in Malta who are providing assistance at the Malta airport of Luqa, at the Valleta seaport, and at the hotels," said Baldoz, who also thanked Filipino priest Fr. Aldrin Alvarado who had accommodated more than 50 OFWs in his chapel in Malta. END

Created Aug 26th 2014, 15:00


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