DOLE addresses assistance to OFWs from Libya with claims, redeployment and contingency plans

Greater Middle EastImage via WikipediaA March 12, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and other officials of DOLE met with leaders and representatives of licensed recruitment agencies (LRAs) Friday, to ensure assistance to OFW-repatriates from Libya with money claims, the LRAs’ redeployment plan for the repatriates, and their contingency measures for OFWs they have sent to the Middle East in case another crisis occur in the region that would trigger repatriation of more OFWs.

DOLE Undersecretary Danilo P. Cruz and officials of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) led by Administrator Carlos Cao Jr. joined the meeting.

“It was agreed during the meeting that a DOLE-industry committee for the settlement of cases of OFW-repatriates with money claims will be formed to systematize coordination, facilitate settlement of the cases, and address issues including insurance coverage under RA 10022,” Baldoz said.

She instructed the POEA to immediately form the committee and to ensure that all money claims cases of OFWs from Libya will be settled in six months. The committee members, she said, will include the DOLE, National Labor Relations Commission, POEA, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Insurance Commission, and representatives from associations of licensed recruitment agencies.

“The committee will be tasked to formulate guidelines which will serve as the standard in settlement of OFW cases involving money claims,” Baldoz said.

The labor and employment secretary also asked LRAs, which sent OFWs to Libya, to submit to DOLE their redeployment plan for OFWs who want to be re-deployed to other host nations.

“OFWs from Libya are highly skilled. Agencies which recruited them are being prioritized for their redeployment as other agencies and even local employers are interested to give them jobs,” Baldoz said stressing, however, that it is still the OFWs who would decide and choose their deploying agency or whether they want to be hired locally.

The LRAs which are deploying OFWs to Middle East countries were also asked to provide the DOLE a copy of their contingency plans that should be implemented for the rescue, evacuation, and eventual repatriation of OFWs in case natural or man-made crisis in host countries warrants their repatriation.

Earlier, the POEA issued an advisory asking the LRAs to submit the same contingency plan for OFWs.

“R.A. 10022 provides that repatriation of OFWs, if necessary, is part of the responsibilities of their recruitment agencies. Nonetheless, we want a more systematic and closer coordination with LRAs in the implementation of their contingency plan for OFWs as this will facilitate the rescue, evacuation, and repatriation of OFWs, if events call for these actions,” Baldoz said.