DFA Secretary del Rosario in Tunisia, leading repatriation efforts for OFWs in Libya

A February 27, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs

Upon his arrival Saturday morning in the Tunisian capital of Tunis, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario stated that some 131 Filipinos have crossed the Libyan-Tunisian border at Ras al-Jedir.

A DFA team received them at the border and have made arrangements for their flight home. The Filipinos are now safe in Tunisia and are on their way to Manila.

Secretary Del Rosario, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos and a small team flew to and are now in Jerba, the Tunisian city closest to the Libyan border.

He had originally planned to proceed to Tripoli if not for the de facto ‘no fly advisory’ that is being considered for Libya by the international community.

Meanwhile, Philippine Embassy in Athens Charge d’Affaires Constancio Vingno reported to the DFA that five Filipinos arrived safely in the Greek island of Crete.

Philippine Honorary Consul Alexandros Fasoulakis and the Filipino community in Crete are providing assistance to the five Filipinos.

CDA Vingno is en route to the Greek port City of Pereos to receive some 144 Filipinos working for the Dutch construction company Bam who are due to arrive there today.

He is likewise finalizing arrangements with Greek shipping companies for ferries to pick up Filipinos in Benghazi shortly.

According to DFA records, there are increasing numbers of Filipinos who have exited Libya. Of this number, some 168 Filipinos already arrived in Manila.

Fifteen (15) Filipinos, who were flown to Madrid by their employers, are also expected to arrive in Manila Sunday afternoon.

The Philippine Embassy in Madrid, in close coordination with the the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Madrid, welcomed them Saturday afternoon and provided them shelter and food during their short stay there.

In view of the escalating violence and widespread insecurity in Libya, the DFA is on a full relocation and repatriation mode. Apart from the Embassies near Libya, the DFA has mobilized its other Embassies and Consulates General to assist Filipinos who will be arriving in their countries from Libya.

In Manila, the 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 also 24-hour landline numbers 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 activated at the DFA, where the families of Filipinos can call their relatives in Libya.

The DFA also published an advisory in two leading newspapers for the families on current measures.