Global alliance of overseas Filipino workers Migrante International today confirmed reports that a Filipino worker died in Libya last February 21.
According to Gina Esguerra, secretary-general, Fr. Allan Arcebuche of San Francisco Catholic Church in Tripoli said that they first learned of the casualty from Filipino nurses stationed at the Jalo General Hospital in Benghazi, Libya.
Further reports stated that the still unidentified OFW was on duty when armed men attacked him. He tried to escape but fell from the rig. It is not yet clear if he was hit by bullets or if he died due to the fatal fall.
As of 10:00am Saudi time, John Leonard Monterona of Migrante-Middle East also confirmed the report, saying that the OFW whose remains now lie at the Jalo General Hospital worked for Challenger Limited (Benghazi branch). Challenger Limited is an international provider of contract oil and gas land drilling services.
Esguerra said that they and their affiliates and members in Libya and the Middle East are still striving to get the identity and personal circumstances of the OFW as of this posting.
“Ito na ang kinakatakot natin mula pa lamang magsimula ang krisis sa Libya at patuloy pa rin ang mabagal na aksyon ng Aquino government. Nangyari na nga at hanggang ngayon huli pa rin sa aksyon ang ating gobyerno. Heads must roll, this is blood in the hands of Aquino and concerned government officials,” Esguerra said.
Esguerra said that based from reports they have been steadily receiving from their hotlines and from members and affiliate organizations on the ground in Libya, the evacuation of batches of OFWs from Libya have not been facilitated by government officials but by employers, recruitment agencies and the initiative of the OFWs themselves.
Hundreds of OFWs in Libya have been complaining that the Philippine authorities are missing in the borders, while hundreds are still languishing in workers’ camps, evacuation centers and homes of their employers. (Regular updates are available at Migrante’s website, www.migranteinternational.org).
She recounted that even Fr. Allan Arcebuche, who has readily volunteered his services and his parish as sanctuary for stranded OFWs in Libya, had complained about no less than Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Exec. Dir. of the Office of the Undersecretary for Overseas Workers Affairs (OUMWA) Ricardo Endaya, leader of the team sent by the Philippine government to oversee evacuation of OFWs from Libya.
“Fr. Allan attests that the Philippine task force team has no output yet. As of yesterday, wala pa rin daw napapaalis ang DFA team sa Tripoli man o sa Benghazi dahil hindi raw nila option ang by sea. When he asked Mr. Endaya about their evacuation plan for inter-cities and towns in and around Tripolo region, he said that the official arrogantly asked him kung ‘ilang taon na raw ba siya sa Libya?’,” Esguerra recounted.
“Ang nangyayari, puro papogi ang gobyerno ni Aquino. They are basking in the so-called credit of evacuating our OFWs when reports from the ground, from families of victims and from returned OFWs themselves claim otherwise,” she said.
Migrante International will hold a protest rally later this afternoon at Plaza Miranda to demand urgent government action and accountability from the Aquino administration. The organization is also enjoining all family members of OFWs in Libya to go to the protest site where they will be setting up a Migrante Crisis Hotline booth to gather complaints and messages. All distress messages will be forwarded immediately to concerned government agencies. ###
Updates from Migrante’s Crisis Hotline:
As of February 26 – 105 OFWs in Amal Area are ready for evacuation but are yet to receive information and assistance from the Philippine embassy. They are fearing for their lives because the area where they are situated are hounded by looters every night. Photos available at website.
As of February 26, 8:00pm – Around 100 foreign workers in Wafa Site in ENI Gas Plant subcontracted by MAN Company braved the desert route towards the Algerian border for seven (7) hours. When they reached the border, however, 47 OFWs and 5 Thais were not allowed to pass through because of lack of documents, only German and French nationals were allowed to enter.
The OFWs called the POLO-OWWA in Libya and they were told to return to Ghadames “to coordinate”. They remain trapped at the border as of this posting. If they go back, it would take another two hours on foot
They are asking help from Philippine authorities to be allowed to pass through the Algerian border. Their main contact person is Noel Circulado, 0918619917/091865404. ###
As of February 27, 6:00pm – OFWs from the Hopewell Recruitment Agency cannot contact the Embassy in Tripoli. They have run out of food supplies and decided to move out towards the Algerian border this morning where they perceive it ‘relatively safe to stay’. All of them do not have their passports with them. Below are the names of the OFWs:
1. Joey Cruz – contact number: 0919379779
2. Celso Sunga
3. Eliseo Ocampo
4. Wodilito Cruz
5. Marvin Ocampo
6. Eufrasio de Castro
7. Ricky Agustin
8. Marvin Paculian
9. Richard de Guzman
10. Benjie Legal
11. Artemio Gomez Jr.
12. Nelson Rapanan
13. Baltazar Blen Jr.
14. Sherwin Taniola
15. Danilo Belen
16. Engr. Ervin Gargado
As of February 28, 12:00midnight – More than 60 OFWs arrived at the Libyan-Egyptian border Al Salloum but no Philippine embassy officials were stationed there. The OFWs come from Amal and Harouge. They left the site at 9:00am and arrived at Tubrouk at 4:00pm escorted by an armed group who they had to pay 400dinars each. Their contact persons are Armie John – 0918924909 and Gilbert Garcia- 0918953061.
As of February 28 – A group of around 200 migrants, among them 80 OFWs, led by Migrante-Libya coordinator Gil Lebria has reached Tunisia at 6:00am. They are currently staying at a hotel there and will be flying back to Manila via Germany. Embassy officials are also missing in action in Tunisia, one of the exit posts identified by the DFA. Photos available at website. ###