Gov’t blamed for refusal of OFWs to leave Libya
• August 10, 2014
• Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
• Published in Top Stories
THE chairman of the House committee on overseas workers affairs yesterday blamed the government for the refusal of thousands of Filipino overseas workers (OFWs) to leave strife-torn Libya. This as the head of the House independent bloc lamented that OFWs chose to stay and risk their lives because of lack of better opportunities in the country. Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello, who chairs the panel, said the government should have not lifted the deployment ban to Libya in 2012 and 2013.
“The problem is partly the making of the government since it lifted the deployment ban to Libya in 2012 and 2013 despite the deteriorating security situation. It gave in to pressure from multinational corporations despite the risks to our kababayans.
House independent bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin “FM” G. Romualdez said he was “saddened that they (OFWs) chose to stay there
despite the clear danger on their lives just to keep their jobs than return in the country with empty stomach.”
“This situation should serve as a wake-up call for the government to create decent and better livelihood opportunities for our people,” Romualdez lamented.
Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, a member of the Romualdez bloc, echoed Romualdez’s observation.
“That is a very sad and unfortunate development, but maybe most of them believe that they can find ways to be safe in the midst of conflict. We can only hope and pray that indeed by staying put, they will be able to stay out of harm’s way and are better off being there,” De la Cruz stressed.
Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. urged the families of OFWs to convince their relatives in Libya to avail of the Philippine government assistance.
“The workers in Libya should take advantage of the help of the Philippine government,” said Belmonte.
Bello berated the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for their poor decision making as he urged them “to exert all efforts to get our OFWs out, even to the point of negotiating with the heads of militias for safe conduct passes.”
“Now the DFA and DOLE are blaming them for a situation of their own (DFA and DOLE) making. Most deploying countries evacuated their nationals months ago. This is tragedy of the first order,” said Bello.