Sec Del Rosario in Tunis to oversee Libya repatriation

ACTING Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario is enroute to Tunisia to look after the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the increasing tensions in Libya and to take the lead in efforts to bring them out of said country as quickly as possible.

Secretary Del Rosario, is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban B. Conejos, Jr., left Friday night on board an Emirates flight bound for Tunis. They are expected to arrive in Tunis late afternoon Saturday.

“Our objective is to undertake the relocation and repatriation as quickly as possible. We are fully committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of our beloved Filipinos in Libya,” Secretary del Rosario said.

The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli activated relocation centers in Tripoli and Benghazi for Filipinos to stay in, unless they feel safe where they are, in which case they should remain there until further notice. Those in the relocation centers are being moved to exit points where they will be transported out of Libya.

Filipinos are likewise being repatriated by their employers out of Libya, in tandem with the DFA and the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli.

The DFA is making arrangements for ferry ships to take Filipinos from Tripoli to the safe haven of Malta and those from Benghazi to Crete, another safe area.

The six-man team from the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) are already in Tripoli. Teams are also in place to receive and provide assistance to Filipinos exiting to Egypt and Tunisia. The DFA is deploying additional personnel at the border crossings, and in cities where Filipinos will be taking flights to Manila.

The four relocation sites are the Filipino Workers Resource Center at the Embassy and the Philippine School in Tripoli and the two Philippine Schools in Benghazi.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is assisting the DFA in the repatriation efforts.

In Manila, the DFA-OUMWA continues to attend to families of Filipinos in Libya, briefing them about the government’s measures being undertaken and in place.

There are also 24-hour landline numbers for families of Filipinos based in Libya, at 834-4580, 834-3245, 834-3240, and 834-4646.

In cooperation with SMART Communications, a 24-hour “Libreng Tawag” is activated at the DFA, where the families of Filipinos can call their relatives in Libya.

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