Heads Must Roll, OFW Reported Dead in Libya — Migrante International (PR)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2011

Global alliance of overseas Filipino workers Migrante International today confirmed reports that a Filipino worker died in Libya last February 21.

According to Gina Esguerra, secretary-general, Fr. Allan Arcebuche of San Francisco Catholic Church in Tripoli said that they first learned of the casualty from Filipino nurses stationed at the Jalo General Hospital in Benghazi, Libya.

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Further reports stated that the still unidentified OFW was on duty when armed men attacked him. He tried to escape but fell from the rig. It is not yet clear if he was hit by bullets or if he died due to the fatal fall.

As of 10:00am Saudi time, John Leonard Monterona of Migrante-Middle East also confirmed the report, saying that the OFW whose remains now lie at the Jalo General Hospital worked for Challenger Limited (Benghazi branch). Challenger Limited is an international provider of contract oil and gas land drilling services.

Esguerra said that they and their affiliates and members in Libya and the Middle East are still striving to get the identity and personal circumstances of the OFW as of this posting.

“Ito na ang kinakatakot natin mula pa lamang magsimula ang krisis sa Libya at patuloy pa rin ang mabagal na aksyon ng Aquino government. Nangyari na nga at hanggang ngayon huli pa rin sa aksyon ang ating gobyerno. Heads must roll, this is blood in the hands of Aquino and concerned government officials,” Esguerra said.

Esguerra said that based from reports they have been steadily receiving from their hotlines and from members and affiliate organizations on the ground in Libya, the evacuation of batches of OFWs from Libya have not been facilitated by government officials but by employers, recruitment agencies and the initiative of the OFWs themselves.

Hundreds of OFWs in Libya have been complaining that the Philippine authorities are missing in the borders, while hundreds are still languishing in workers’ camps, evacuation centers and homes of their employers. (Regular updates are available at Migrante’s website, www.migranteinternational.org).

She recounted that even Fr. Allan Arcebuche, who has readily volunteered his services and his parish as sanctuary for stranded OFWs in Libya, had complained about no less than Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Exec. Dir. of the Office of the Undersecretary for Overseas Workers Affairs (OUMWA) Ricardo Endaya, leader of the team sent by the Philippine government to oversee evacuation of OFWs from Libya.

“Fr. Allan attests that the Philippine task force team has no output yet. As of yesterday, wala pa rin daw napapaalis ang DFA team sa Tripoli man o sa Benghazi dahil hindi raw nila option ang by sea. When he asked Mr. Endaya about their evacuation plan for inter-cities and towns in and around Tripolo region, he said that the official arrogantly asked him kung ‘ilang taon na raw ba siya sa Libya?’,” Esguerra recounted.

“Ang nangyayari, puro papogi ang gobyerno ni Aquino. They are basking in the so-called credit of evacuating our OFWs when reports from the ground, from families of victims and from returned OFWs themselves claim otherwise,” she said.

Migrante International will hold a protest rally later this afternoon at Plaza Miranda to demand urgent government action and accountability from the Aquino administration. The organization is also enjoining all family members of OFWs in Libya to go to the protest site where they will be setting up a Migrante Crisis Hotline booth to gather complaints and messages. All distress messages will be forwarded immediately to concerned government agencies.

Reference:
Gina Esguerra
Migrante International secretary-general

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