MANILA – Overseas Filipino workers in Libya will not be barred from returning to the war-torn country after spending the holidays in the Philippines, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy” Locsin Jr. said Wednesday.
Some OFWs from Libya have been asking permission on whether they could come home for Christmas, Locsin told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing at the Senate.
“I promised them that even if you are regarded as fool-hearted… [for] insisting on going back [to Libya] because you need to work and you need to take care of your family, if you are in trouble, we will get you back,” Locsin said.
OFWs should be allowed decide on where they want to work, he said.
“What is the difference between leaving them in Libya in danger throughout Christmas and letting them come home to the Philippines for Christmas where they will be safe for at least 2 weeks and then they go back to Libya because that is their choice?” he said.
“Isn’t it better that they go back in danger, they return to danger with the fond memory of their families in Christmas?” he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs would also check on OFW hotlines in Philippine embassies to ensure that distress calls are received by authorities, the country’s top diplomat said.
“We will get you back, dead or alive. We will not leave you behind,” he said.
In September, the DFA advised Filipinos in Libya to prepare for a possible evacuation after it raised the alert level in the Middle Eastern country torn by civil war.
There are over 3,500 Filipinos in Libya, according to the DFA.