THE Department of Foreign Affairs has said that it was still studying the possibility of whether or not to downgrade the alert level from 2 to 1 in Libya, an official said.
Although she did not say the exact date, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said that the agency has been constantly monitoring the situation in Libya.
She said a decision will be made on the basis of the safety of the Filipino workers there.
“Our OFWs in Libya face two natural difficulties: their safety and security, and their ability to send their earnings back to the Philippines,” Arriola said.
Based on actual feedback from the few remaining Filipino workers in Libya, the required infrastructure and mechanisms for remitting their hard salaries are still in the offing.
Foreign currency is scarce in Libya, and in the competition for the scarce resource, ‘foreign workers lose out to uncontrollable economic and political forces.’
Arriola advised prospective workers to carefully scrutinize private offers for employment in Libya.
“These job offers circumvent the safety features set up by the Philippines through so-called backdoor deployment schemes where workers are advised to travel first as tourists to other Asian cities to secure their Libyan working visas there,” she said.
Such kind of recruitment, she said, is illegal, which is frowned upon by the Libyan government.
All workers who wish to be employed in Libya should follow government regulations and pass through the POEA.
Under the present Alert Level 2, for the safety of all parties, the deployment of new workers to Libya is still not possible.
Libyan Charge d’ Affaires Ahmed Eddeb recently called on the Philippine government to reevaluate the security risk in Libya and lift the deployment ban to be able to hire new Filipino professionals, stressing that majority of hospitals there are in “greatly need” of nurses, technicians, construction workers, among others.
Eddeb, who wrote letters to the DFA several times, urged the DFA secretary to visit Libya, check the security situation, and downgrade the Crisis Alert Level for Libya from 2 (Restriction Phase) to 1 (Precautionary Phase)
In September 2016, the DFA has lowered the Crisis Alert Level for Libya from 4 (Mandatory Repatriation or Evacuation) to 2 (Restriction Phase).
Alert Level 2 is issued when there are threats to life, security, and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbances, instability, and/or external threat.
Under this Alert Level, Filipinos are instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and prepare for evacuation.