MANILA – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) imposed a total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Libya.
"We have received a communication from the DFA Secretary on the new crisis alert level in Libya. Thus, the Governing Board decided to impose a total deployment ban on the processing and deployment of all OFWs bound for that country," said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, who sits as chairman of the POEA Governing Board.
The total ban comes after the Department of Foreign Affairs raised its alert level in Libya from 2 (restriction phase) to 3 (voluntary repatriation phase) in view of the worsening security situation in that country.
Under Alert Level 3, Filipinos in Libya are encouraged to leave voluntarily as soon as possible. The Philippine government will shoulder the cost of repatriation.
Baldoz said there is no need yet to send a DOLE augmentation team to Libya but is ready to send one to assist the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) if necessary.
"Our OFWs in Libya are high-skilled and this affords them protection. Based on our experience, OFWs in Libya are highly aware of their situation and this makes it easier for the government to deal with security and protection issues concerning them," she said.
Based on POEA deployment records, total deployment of new-hires to Libya increased from 281 in 2012 to 4,093 in 2013. In terms of deployment, Libya has an almost equal number of professional workers, technical and related workers, production and transport equipment workers, and laborers.
Total re-hires (balik-manggagawa) and new-hires in Libya as of end of 2013 is placed at 9,754, assuming that the re-hires who entered in 2013 have still live contracts.