MANILA: PILIPINO OFW – Total ban on Libyan deployment in force

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III
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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday ordered a total deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers bound to Libya on the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs, amid the violence bearing down on the North African country.
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“Upon the advice of the DFA, we are imposing a deployment ban of workers to Libya to ensure their safety and security and to avoid getting caught in the escalating violence in Libya,” Bello said.DFA on Monday raised Alert Level III in Tripoli and some areas within a 100-kilometer radius of the capital, which is considered as a voluntary repatriation phase.Bello said DOLE is still in close coordination with DFA to monitor the situation and assess the possible repatriation of OFWs, as well as to ensure the workers’ safety and security.

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“DOLE is ready to provide repatriation assistance to our Filipino workers who will signify interest to come home. An augmentation team will be dispatched this week to ensure the welfare of our workers, and assist their possible repatriation.
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Also, we are prepared for any exigency of forced repatriation if the situation deteriorates,” Bello said.
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Around 2,600 documented OFWs are in Libya, who are mostly medical workers and skilled professionals.Aside from repatriation aid, reintegration assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration also awaits OFWs who may be repatriated from Libya.
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The ban will stay until the situation normalizes, or until further advice by the DFA with which DOLE is closely coordinating with, the department said.

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DOLE is constantly assessing the situation and will issue appropriate advisories from time to time.

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Last week, the Presidential Council in Libya placed security forces on alert after units loyal to the rival Libyan National Army announced they have begun advancing towards Tripoli, triggering some limited clashes south of the capital that left one person dead.
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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres initially expressed “deep concern” over the military movement and the risk of confrontation it poses.

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READ: DOLE ready to evacuate OFWs in Libya­­—Bello 
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READ: UN chief calls for a stop to the fighting in Libya  
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READ: US appeals for a halt to offensive in Libya
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