OFWs sa Libya inabandona ng mga employer,rekruter

AN alliance of Filipino migrants’ rights group in the Middle East Wednesday called on the government to impose compulsory or forced evacuation following reports that more OFWs were abandoned by their employers, recruiters as protests continue to escalate and fresh violence with heavy gunfire broke out in Libya.

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona chided the PH govt. for imposing a voluntary evacuation or repatriation instead of compulsory or forced evacuation.

“Based on the reports we are receiving from our fellow OFWs in Libya from the past 3 days, the situation there is worse than in Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen characterized by looting, indiscriminate firings from Libyan government forces, and massive clashes swiftly spreading from Benghazi to Libya’s capital Tripoli,” Monterona.

The group reiterated their call to the Aquino government to conduct evacuation to secure the safety of OFWs.

Based on previous similar incidents, OFWs are left by their employers ‘to nothingness’. OFWs are the least priority of foreign employers and recruitment agents when it comes to securing the lives and well being of OFWs, he said.

“It is a known fact that OFWs are regarded as ‘third class’ foreign workers in any Arab states,” he said.

Monterona cited the situation of about 145 OFWs working for Al Nahar company located at Nalut, Libya, whose camp is near the border of Algeria and Tunisia. Al Nahar is about 400km away from Tripoli.

“Reports reaching us they have been abandoned by their employer. With them are fellow migrant workers such as Thais, Viets, Bangladeshi and Chadian, totaling to 1,000 migrant workers staying at their camp site at Nalut, Libya,” Monterona said.

Tuesday 4:30 p.m., Monterona said he received reports from Gil Lebria, Migrante coordinator in Libya, who is among those OFWs trapped in Hamada-Nalut, Libya, claiming that armed men entered their camps and fired from the gates of their camp. Company vehicles, 5 Toyota double-cab pick-up cars, were carjacked by the armed men then left them unharmed.

“In Kufra, southeast of Libya bordering Egypt and Sudan, there are 100 OFWs have been abandoned by their bosses and employers,” Monterona citing reports from Lebria.

“In our assessment based on the reports we are receiving from our fellow OFWs in Libya , the situation there is worse than in Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen characterized by looting, indiscriminate firings from Libyan government forces, and massive clashes swiftly spreading from Benghazi to Libya’s capital Tripoli,” Monterona averred.

The group demanded a “clear and proactive blueprint” from the Aquino government for the safety and protection of OFWs in conflict-ridden Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.-D’Jay Lazaro

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