MANILA, Philippines - Bracing up for any eventuality in Libya, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz yesterday approved the deployment of a contingency team to augment the staff of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the troubled country.
In a statement, Baldoz said the team is composed of Labor attaché Nasser Mustafa and Welfare officer Eduardo Mendoza, Jr.
“They will travel to Libya mainly to establish network with Filipino workers and their employers, assess the actual peace and security situation, and recommend a plan of action to facilitate the evacuation of Filipinos when it becomes necessary,” she said.
“The DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) augmentation team should form part of the country’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) in Libya, together with the team from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), under the one-country-team approach,” she added.
Mustafa and Mendoza were part of the ground team in Libya who helped handle the evacuation and repatriation of Filipino workers during the 2011 Libyan crisis.
Earlier, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) imposed a total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Libya after the DFA raised a Crisis Alert Level 3 in the troubled country.
In a report to Baldoz, POEA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said there have been violent disturbances in Benghazi where a sizable number of Filipino workers are based.
“Unfortunately, our four POLO personnel in Libya are stationed at the Philippine embassy command post in Tripoli. The DOLE contingency team will be immediately deployed to Benghazi to beef up POLO’s presence in Libya’s second largest city,” he added.
Cacdac also heads DOLE’s Libya Crisis Quick Response Team.
He is set to recommend to Baldoz the deployment of another contingency team composed of Labor attachés David Des Dicang, Jeffrey Cortazar, Nasser Munder, Ramon Tionloc and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration director Albert Valenciano.
The team will be tasked to identify and undertake ocular visits of possible exit points and transit countries to ensure the safety of Filipino workers during actual evacuation.
The DOLE has established a command center that monitors daily the situation in Libya through reports gathered from the POLO in Tripoli, from the RRT on site, and from tri-media news reports.