The government of Libya has sought the assistance of the Philippine government to consider the deployment of more nurses and other Filipino workers to the Mediterranean nation.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the request was raised by Libyan Health Minister Ahmed Mohamed Omar who met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in Manila on Tuesday (Aug 20).
PH to Consider Deploying Filipino Workers to Libya Despite Safety Alerts
In an announcement shared by the DFA through Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Fernandez, Secretary Locsin “promised to look into the matter”, as shared in a report by the PNA.
Currently, an Alert Level 4 is in place on the Libyan capital, Tripoli and its nearby areas, effectively banning deployment as well as the return of at least 1,000 Filipino workers in Tripoli to the state should they decide to return to the Philippines.
During the diplomatic meeting, Locsin and Omar discussed the steps made by the Libyan government to address the Filipino workers’ concerns over remittances and salaries, which include the delay and non-payment of salaries of more than 1,000 Filipino nurses and hospital workers in Libya.
Prior to this meeting and his trip to Manila, the Libyan official already assured the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli that the Libyan government is addressing the issue and that he is coordinating closely with the Office of the Prime Minister and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Finance.
Furthermore, Omar told the embassy that a “comprehensive review of existing policies in the payment and remittance of salaries and benefits of expatriate health workers is now ongoing.”
In line with this, a focal person has been designated to work closely with the Philippine Embassy in addressing monetary claims of Filipino hospital workers.
For his part, Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato shared, “Minister Omar also said representations have been made with the Central Bank of Libya to allow Filipino and other expatriate nurses and hospital workers to remit as much as 70 percent of their salaries.”
Cato added that the Libyan government is also planning to adjust the salaries of foreign hospital workers to ensure that they will continue to get the original dollar equivalent indicated in their employment contracts.
Omar, who was accompanied by the Libyan Embassy in Manila Chargé d’Affaires Ahmed Eddeb met with officials of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Health during his trip to Manila and paid a visit to some pharmaceutical companies in the country.