Libya OFW return permit sought

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday asked the Department of Labor and Employment to allow Filipinos working in Libya who have gone on vacation in the Philippines to return to their jobs abroad.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has written a letter to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III recommending the exemption from the current deployment ban to Libya of overseas Filipino workers with valid and existing contracts in the North African country.

According to Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato, the proposed exemption will cover those stranded in the Philippines after the DFA raised the alert level in Libya from II to III.

Cato said Filipinos who will be covered by the new exemption must submit a copy of their employment contract, including their salaries and benefits and a letter from their employer or sponsor, requesting their return as well as an undertaking guaranteeing their safety and security.

Likewise, the Filipino workers and their next of kin are 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 in Tripoli.

Locsin’s request expands the coverage of the exemptions granted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in November and December to certain categories of Filipinos working in Libya.

Over the past few weeks, OFW in Libya had 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.

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