OFWs honor volunteer priest for repatriation efforts in Libya

Global alliance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Migrante International today paid tribute to Father Allan Arcebuche of Caritas in Tripoli, the volunteer priest who organized repatriation efforts for at least 12,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Libya.

In a thanksgiving mass, Migrante International presented to Arcebuche a plaque of appreciation and gratitude “for sharing his invaluable time and efforts to uphold the general welfare and protection of OFWs in Libya, for his unfailing commitment and leadership that empowered the Filipino community and forged their unity, and for his willingness and sacrifice to go above and beyond your means in the service of OFWs and their families.”

The mass was held in Sta. Ana Church in Manila. Returned OFWs from Libya attended the thanksgiving mass.

Prayers for OFWs in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen

The mass also offered prayers for the safety of OFWs in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya.

The situations in said countries remain volatile as anti-government protests continue to escalate. There are currently 31,000 Filipinos in Bahrain, 17,000 in Syria and 1,400 registered OFWs in Yemen. In Libya, at least 14,000 Filipinos were left behind.

“We are worried because as in Libya before, the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) is stating that Filipinos are ‘relatively safe’ yet they have already issued travel advisories warning Filipino nationals from travelling to these countries. These are conflicting information, ano ba talaga ang totoong sitwasyon doon?” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Travel and deployment bans have been put in place in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). In Yemen, the DFA has raised the alarm to Alert Level 3 and offered “voluntary repatriation” at the government’s expense. “But they still do not have clear plans for the tens of thousands of undocumented Filipinos there,” Martinez said.

Meanwhile, Migrante International has been receiving reports that OFWs are lacking in food and other supplies, fearing for their safety in the three countries and seeking immediate repatriation. Migrante Middle-East had also called on the Philippine government to probe reports that two OFWs who were allegedly killed in Syria.

Sagip-Migrante hotlines

Martinez announced that their Sagip Migrante Hotlines are still open and operational. Migrante set up its Sagip Migrante hotlines when the conflict in Libya erupted last February. The Sagip Migrante Hotlines may be reached through mobile number 0932-3995952 and/or email menacrisiscenter.migrante@gmail.com. All complaints, calls for assistance and information will be immediately forwarded to concerned government agencies. ###

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