DOLE 24/7 Call Center Assists Families of OFWs in Libya

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A March 18, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday reported that its 24/7 call center has assisted families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) caught in the civil unrest in Libya by promptly attending to and referring their calls to DOLE ground teams who located them and secured their safe repatriation to the country.
In a report to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Labor Communications Office (LCO) Director and DOLE Call Center Head Nicon F. Fameronag said the center performed its function in accordance with Secretary Baldoz’s instruction when the Libya crisis erupted, immediately going into a 24/7 mode and responding to calls of families of OFWs affected by the civil strife through referrals and frequent follow through.
Pursuant to DOLE Administrative Order No. 64, series of 2011, issued by the Secretary, the DOLE Call Center started its 24/7 monitoring on February 24, 2011 and received calls from families and relatives of OFWs in Libya on February 25, 2011.
Fameronag said the call center received its first request for assistance from a certain Glenda Cruz whose kin, Anselmo Cruz, was having problems with his repatriation as his clearance was on hold even while their other coworkers who were of other nationalities were already on their way out.
Coordinating closely with the DOLE Task Force on Libya and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Fameronag said the Call Center relayed all the pertinent information/requests of Ms. Cruz to concerned offices for proper assistance and disposition.
The LCO chief said that in one instance, a certain Joy Velarde, called up to report that his kin, Joel Reveriza, and his group of 145 Filipinos in Nalut, Libya were prevented by Libyans to pass through Tripoli because they do not have their passports. The information was immediately forwarded to the Task Force and OWWA so that they can instruct their people on the ground to look for Reveriza’s group and help them safely reach the borders for eventual repatriation.
Fameronag also said that the call center received a distress call from a Maricel Gonzales, whose kin, Gerald Atoli, was requesting to be picked up at the port of Misurata, since it was impossible for them to travel to Tripoli or Benghazi as all the routes going to the borders were allegedly blocked by either rebel forces or those allied with Libyan leader Moamar Ghadafi.
In all these instances, Fameronag said the action officers at the call center were instructed to be alert and on top of their toes to immediately respond to the requests for assistance and queries of families or kin of OFWs affected by the Libyan crisis and to give feedback on action taken regarding their request.
With more than 4,000 OFWs safely repatriated back to the country since the crisis in Libya began, the DOLE Call Center continues to assist all OFWs and their families in distress in all the various countries currently undergoing unrest, including those of the catastrophic earthquakes in New Zealand and  Japan.