OFW Repatriates from Libya Receive Assistance from Philippine Overseas Labor Office

02_19_2011_DC Libyan Protest003.jpgImage by http://messay.com / Messay Shoakena
A March 26, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment
Translating into action the government’s one-country team approach to ensure smooth repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), through its Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Rome, Italy, has assisted distressed OFWs from the strife-torn country transiting Rome.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced this yesterday after receiving a report from Labor Attache Chona M. Mantilla, who said that POLO-Rome had assisted 211 OFWs from Libya for repatriation to the Philippines.
“The 211 OFWs from Libya arrived at the Fiumicino airport in five (5) batches from March 2 to 10.  They were all accommodated and assisted by POLO-Rome en route to the Philippines,” Mantilla said.
Baldoz hailed the POLO’s efforts, together with the Philippine Embassy’s in Rome, as well as those of other public, private, and international groups in Italy’s capital city, in providing extensive support and assistance to OFW returnees.
“I commend our POLO in Italy for providing a secured haven for our OFWs affected by the turmoil in Libya and for giving them the assistance they need to rejoin their families back in the Philippines,” Baldoz said.
Philippine Ambassador to Italy Romeo L. Manalo, OWWA Welfare Officer Ruth Vibar, and Labor Attache Mantilla, together with other embassy support staff, welcomed the OFWs from Libya.
Consulate officials of Malta and Reggion Calabria City in Italy and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) also joined the outreach to the OFW repatriates.
Mantilla reported that services provided to fast-track repatriation of the OFWs include facilitation of entry and departure; coordination with local migration and airport police authorities for completion of travel documents; and arrangement of plane tickets with the DOLE in Manila.
In addition, Mantilla said the POLO sheltered the OFWs, providing them with food and clothing while they were waiting for their travel arrangements.  Free calls to the country were also offered to allow the distressed OFWs to communicate with their families.
Demonstrating their heartfelt fervor in helping their fellow OFWs, Filipino communities and OFWs-volunteer migrants in Rome also offered accommodations to the transiting OFWs, with some even sharing their clothes and personal belongings.
“Everyone felt the need to help our OFWs.  Even POLO Milan and POLO Greece, which were also transit points for distressed OFWs, also rendered valuable assistance to facilitate the OFWs safe and speedy repatriation,” Mantilla reported.