OFWs in Libya told: Forget exit visas, leave now

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Friday, August 1, 2014

MANILA -- The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) urged anew overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Libya to come home immediately, especially now that they will not need exit visas from their employers anymore.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the Libyan Ministry of Labor has already decided to waive the exit visa requirements from OFWs.

"The exit visa is no longer a problem for our OFWs. This after the Libyan Ministry of Labor has given the authority to bring all Filipinos out of Libya even without exit visas," said Baldoz.

Sans the exit visa requirement, the labor chief explained that Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) officials in Libya will no longer need to negotiate with Libyan employers to issue exit visas for OFWs.

"This also means that Filipino workers, who wish to avail of the mandatory repatriation, need not to beg with their employers to allow them to leave Libya," Baldoz noted.

Based on the report of Labor Attaché to Tripoli Nasser Mustafa, the authority given by the Libyan Ministry of Labor allows the exit of OFWs from Libya through the Republic of Tunisia.

Mustafa also reported that, so far, a total of 732 OFWs have sought repatriation, of which 623 have actually left Libya for the Philippines, while the 109 others are just waiting for their repatriation tickets.

In a related development, Baldoz approved the augmentation of the Polo in Libya and the Philippine Rapid Response Team in Tunisia and Malta.

"With more officials on the ground, I am confident that our OFWs will be in safe hands and no harm will befall them," said Baldoz.

Officials sent to the crisis zone are welfare officer Ron Lionel Bartolome to Libya, Labor Attaché Naser Munder to Tunisia, and Labor Attache Ramon Tionloc to Malta.

Presently in Libya are four officials, namely, Mustafa, Labor Attaché Melchor Dizon, and Welfare Officers Eduardo Mendoza, Jr., and Lynol Fulgencio.

Since July 20, the Philippine government has been implementing mandatory repatriation of the 13,000 OFWs based in Libya under the crisis alert level 4 owing to the escalating security situation there. (HDT/Sunnex)

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