The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to allow more Filipinos working in Libya to go on vacation in the Philippines and return to their jobs there.
In a letter to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. recommended the exemption from the current deployment ban to Libya overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with valid and existing contracts.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato said the proposed exemption will cover those stranded in the Philippines after the DFA raised the Alert Level in Libya from II to III.
He said Filipinos who will be covered by the new exemptions must submit a copy of their employment contract, including their salaries and benefits, and a letter from their employer or sponsor, requesting their return and an undertaking guaranteeing their safety and security.
Filipino workers and their next of kin are also required to submit a sworn statement, acknowledging the risks involved in working in Libya and the limited capability of the Philippine embassy to assist them during emergencies or contingencies.
The documents will then be verified by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Tripoli.
Locsin’s latest request expands the coverage of the exemptions granted by the POEA in November and December to certain categories of Filipinos working in Libya.
Over the past few weeks, OFWs in Libya sought the help of Locsin through his official social media account, requesting assistance to allow them to go back to the Philippines and return for work in the state.
The agency raised the alert level in Libya following the outbreak of violence in Tripoli in September.
“Alert levels are adjusted based on the situation on the ground. The current Alert Level III was prompted by the outbreak of violence in Libya in September that put at serious risk the safety and security of our overseas workers there,” Cato told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“We could lower it once we are satisfied that the security situation has stabilized and no longer exposes our people to risks,” he said. (PNA)
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