Bishop: OFWs in Libya afraid to lose jobs

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MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Monday that he acknowledges and respect the decision of many Filipino workers to stay in strife-torn Libya.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People, said he cannot fault the Filipino workers who  are taking the risk of remaining in the strife-torn Libya.

The prelate said these Filipino workers are sparing the Aquino administration from the burden of having a large number of people now jobless in the country.

“Sapagkat natatakot sila, alam natin iyon, tinatanggap natin na dito ay baka sila ay makadagdag sa kahirapan at pagpapakasakit sa kanilang mga naiwan. Sapagkat alam natin na umalis sila dito sa ating bansa alang-alang sa kinabukasan ng kanilang mga minamahal sa buhay. At ngayon ito ay ating kaugalian na handa tayong magtiis, handa tayong magpakasakit, huwag lamang silang mahirapan,” the bishop said.

Santos said that the risky situation of Filipino workers, not only in Libya, but also in other parts of world should serve as a wake up call to the government to immediately to focus on job generation programs.

“Ito ay isang pagbubukas sa ating isipan na we have to create jobs, we have to equal the playing field, we have to have opportunities for them na dito na sila magtrabaho. Yung kanilang natutunan ay dito nila ibigay sa atin. Noong ako nasa Roma, napansin ko na ang ating mga OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) ay professional and karamihan sa mga kababaihan ay mga nurses at sila ay naglilingkod sa mga ospital, talagang sila ang kinukuha at iyong mga kalalakihan ay mga engineers.

“Ngayon, bakit sila umaalis para makakuha ng trabaho? Hindi sila aalis kung may trabaho. At iyon ang dapat nating bigyan ng pansin,” the bishop said.

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The bishop also called on the Filipino workers to seek temporary shelter in churches in Tripoli and Benghazi.

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