DFA directs dependents, non-essential embassy staff to board Ionian Queen

A March 4, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has directed the dependents of Filipino diplomats in Tripoli and non-essential Embassy staff to board the MV Ionian Queen when it arrives in Tripoli on Saturday.

The Philippine Government-chartered vessel is headed to Tripoli to fetch the remaining 750 Filipinos in said city and take them to safety in the island of Crete.

Officials and staff of the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli who are assisting in the repatriation efforts, as well as the six DFA-Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) augmentation teams deployed in the region, will remain.

The DFA also stated that Filipinos are urged to avail of the repatriation program of the government in light of escalating tensions in Libya.

Earlier, the DFA and the DOLE held a joint coordination meeting Friday afternoon to further strengthen the repatriation and relocation operations already in place for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are in critical areas in Libya.

Six combined DFA-DOLE teams are assisting Filipinos in Tripoli and at the various crossing and entry points of Djerba, the Libyan-Tunisian border, Al Sallum in Egypt, Crete and Malta.

The two agencies have chartered airplanes and booked considerable number of seats in commercial flights for the Filipino repatriates.

Upon their arrival in the country, DOLE assured that Filipino repatriates can avail of the financial relief assistance from the DOLE-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in the amount of P10,000. DOLE through the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) has also made available a package of assistance for Filipino repatriates that includes psycho-social counseling, skills, entrepreneurial and management training as part of their reintegration program.

Apart from the Embassies near Libya, the DFA teams and its other Embassies and Consulates General are in full relocation and repatriation mode, continuing their efforts to assist Filipinos transiting their areas on their way to the Philippines.

In Manila, the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) continues to attend to families of Filipinos in Libya, briefing them about the government’s measures being undertaken and in place.

There are 24-hour landline numbers available for families of Filipinos based in Libya, at 834-4580, 834-3245, 834-3240, and 834-4646. In cooperation with SMART Communications and Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Company, a 24-hour “Libreng Tawag” is also activated at the DFA, where the families of Filipinos can call their relatives in Libya. Families may also e-mail their requests and concerns through the DFA-OUMWA Crisis Management Center’s e-mail address dfaoumwa.cmc@gmail.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

In an effort to fast-track the issuance of passports of a number of Filipino repatriates who left Libya without passports in view of the volatile situation there, the DFA Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA) has also designated special lanes for them in its main passport office, its 19 regional consular offices (RCOs) and its Passport Extension Office at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The Filipino repatriates from Libya may appear personally at these special lanes and present the most basic identification and the Travel Documents (TDs) issued to them by Philippine Foreign Service posts.