Migrante International, the largest alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) groups worldwide, today raised the alarm on the situation of Filipino nationals in Libya as security forces continue to heighten their violent crackdown against protesters.
There is an estimated 36,000 Filipinos in Libya.
“There is not a minute to spare, the government should immediately facilitate the evacuation of our Filipinos there. A civil war is impending. Other nationalities have been evacuated by their governments, ano pa ba ang hinihintay ng gobyerno natin?”said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
Citing reports gathered from their affiliate groups and members in Libya, Martinez said OFWs have been abandoned in workers’ camps and are now left to fend for themselves without food and accommodation.
He said that they have been receiving distraught calls from their members reporting that 145 OFWs have been deserted by the Alnahar company in Nalut, Tripoli and a Korean company in Camp 3, while 25 other Filipino workers of the Dana Generak Contractor- Libyan Company were left without food and any means of transportation. The Alnahar Company Camp in Nalut was reportedly ransacked by looters.
Meanwhile, other reports stated that there are over 100 OFWs currently trapped in the City of Kufrah, Southeast of Libya. Kufrah lies at the border of Egypt and Sudan. Martinez said that the abandoned OFWs there also have no food and water supplies and accommodation.
“Ito na nga ang kinatatakot natin. Humantong na sa ganito ang sitwasyon dahil sa pag-urong-sulong ng gobyerno. Parating ang inuunang konsiderasyon ay ang remittance na mawawala kaysa ang buhay at kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan,” Martinez said.
Martinez also called attention to the situation of Filipino nationals in other parts and regions in the Middle East where anti-government protests are also at hand, “Civil wars are also looming in and around the Saudi borders where approximately a million OFWs are situated. This is no longer just a matter of sporadic violent clashes but an impending civil strife is already in the offing in the Middle East. Tutunganga pa rin ba ang gobyerno?”
The migrant leader said that should anything untoward happen to a single Filipino in Libya or elsewhere in the Middle East, the Philippine government would be held responsible for their dilly-dallying.
Martinez also said that the government should also prepare for the return of OFWs upon evacuation. “Maghanda na sa scenario na libu-libong OFW ang babalik sa Pilipinas dahil sa mga kaganapan sa Middle East. Walang trabaho dito sa sarili nating bayan. Hindi basta-bastang evacuation lang ang kailangan nilang paghandaan.” ###