Opportunities await in the Philippines for displaced OFWs in Libya
Displaced Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can receive alternative job opportunities through the efforts of the Philippine government in repatriating all Filipinos affected by the on-going Libyan Civil War and its increased tensions at Tripoli.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, alternative markets are available for displaced workers’, with Japan offering jobs from different major industries to foreign workers. Filipino laborers are now training to prepare for DOLE’s response to Japan’s job opening for foreign professionals. “We could ‘easily provide’ them [OFWs] alternative working opportunities,” Bello said on a televised interview.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) imposed a deployment ban on April 10 while the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised its Alert Level to 3 to call for “voluntary repatriation” of OFWs from Tripoli and other affected districts in Libya. DFA redeployed previously designated labor and welfare officers in the country to assist the government’s repatriation efforts.
Alternative markets available for repatriated OFWs
With the increasing tensions in Libya, alternative markets are available for Filipino repatriates who wish to continue their employment abroad. The “Labor Cooperation Pact” between the Philippines and Japan aims to deploy Filipino “Specified Skilled Workers” for industries such as Industrial Machinery, Aviation, and other fields covered by the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC).
DOLE has yet to sign a deal with Thailand’s Ministry of Labour (MOL) for the employment of qualified OFW teachers who can teach the English language to public school students from the Easter Economic Corridor (EEC), as part of the country’s “English for All” program. DOLE’s diplomatic meetings with the government of the Czech Republic and Russia are ongoing, opening the possibility of OFW deployment for both countries.
Repatriation efforts for Filipinos underway
The Philippine Embassy in Libya confirms that 4 Filipinos are on their way home as the government assists 29 others in exiting the country by securing their exit clearances from Libyan authorities. According to Elmer Cato, a diplomat for the Philippine Embassy in Libya, once all workers arrive at Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, a team of labor and welfare officers from DFA will assist in the repatriation.
Cato urges Filipinos to come home as the on-going civil war continues to devastate the country. “We understand they are here to provide for their families back home but the situation here is becoming increasingly dangerous for them,” Cato said in a statement on Saturday.