THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is preparing to redeploy to other countries Filipino medical workers trapped in conflict-affected areas of Libya in case there is an order to evacuate them.
On Monday, DoLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III told reporters in a briefing that the plan to send OFWs from Libya to countries who need medical workers are still being looked into by the Labor department. He added that most of the 2,600 OFWs in Libya are working in the medical field.
“Karamihan sa mga workers namin sa Libya ay nurses and medical workers. Maari sila ang ipapadala namin sa Japan and Germany (Most of our workers in Libya are nurses and medical workers. We might send them to Japan and Germany),” he said, adding that those professions are in demand in those two countries.
Mr. Bello said the situation in Libya is still being assessed. The current status as determined by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is Level 3 crisis alert, which calls for voluntary repatriation of overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The alert status covers Tripoli and the areas within 100 kilometers of the Libyan capital. The rest of Libya is on crisis alert Level 2, which is known as the “restricted” phase.
“Right now there is a meeting between DFA and our people to have an assessment of the situation of Libya. It’s very possible that the Alert Level 3 will be upgraded to Alert Level 4 which means forced repatriation,” he said.
Mr. Bello said DoLE will be sending over a team to Libya this week to augment staff already in place.
“In case they raise the alert level 3 to 4, we are sending (more people)… who will assist in the repatriation,” Mr. Bello said.
Currently, Mr. Bello said less than 10 OFWs have sought assistance to leave Libya. — Gillian M. Cortez