DOLE sends contingency team to Libya

By on June 7, 2014


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MANILA — Preparing for any eventuality in the war torn country, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has approved the deployment to Libya of a two-man contingency team to augment the staff of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Tripoli.

“I have approved the composition of the contingency team. It will be composed of Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa and Welfare Officer Eduardo Mendoza, Jr. They will travel to Libya mainly to establish network with OFWs 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,” said Baldoz, who is in Geneva attending the 103rd International Labor Conference.

Mustafa and Mendoza were part of the ground team in Libya who helped handle the evacuation and repatriation of OFWs during the 2011 Libyan crisis.

Baldoz said the POLO, in coordination with the Philippine Embassy, is closely monitoring and assessing the situation in Libya and is coordinating appropriate action necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there.

“The DOLE 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, under the one-country-team approach,” she said.

POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, chairperson of the DOLE’s Libya Crisis Quick Response Team (LCQRT) has reported to Secretary Baldoz that there have been violent disturbances reported in Benghazi, where a sizeable number of OFWs are deployed.

“Unfortunately, our four Philippine Overseas Labor Office 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.

Cacdac said he will also recommend to Secretary Baldoz the deployment of another contingency team composed of five members, namely, Labor Attaches David Des Dicang, Jeffrey Cortazar, Nasser Munder, Ramon Tionloc, and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Director Albert Valenciano to identify and undertake ocular visit of the possible exit points and transit countries to ensure the safety of the OFWs during actual evacuation.

According to Cacdac, the DOLE has established a Command Center that monitors on a daily basis the situation in Libya through reports gathered from the POLO in Tripoli, from the RRT on site, and from tri-media news reports.