What’s happening in Libya? Please President Pnoy please save the OFW

Update March 2, 2011: 14,097 OFW’s trapped in Libya; 3,544 oothers out; another 1,546 on way home (via Manila Bulletin)

whats happening in libya please president pnoy please save the OFW

That is a plea from a tweet. The early evacuations of Filipinos are mostly led by their recruitment agencies and employers. Equally infuriating is the fact that the Aquino administration went on full repatriation mode in Libya only Friday, even if the chaos was already weeks in the making. “Some 440 overseas Filipino workers have safely made it home from strife-torn Libya, with 4,097 still awaiting evacuation from there, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Tuesday.”

Repatriation efforts are slow due to lack of funds. Senator Manny Villar explains the problem:

The government’s repatriation efforts are being hampered because the allocation for such incidents is not enough under the 2011 budget, he said. “Tayo’y medyo may kabagalan, sapagkat walang pera (We are kind of slow, because there is no money),” he said.

The Aquino administration slashed from P156 million to P78 million the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) 2011 budget allocation for helping its nationals. This is the allocation from which the department sources funds for repatriation, according to the senator.

Villar said he had earlier proposed that the budget for assistance to nationals be increased five-folds. The budget was realigned, but he didn’t know where the money was re-allotted by the Aquino administration, he added.

“’Di ko talaga maintindihan… Ang liit na nga binawasan pa… Kung ako kasi, kung mga ilang doble lang, gagawin ko ‘yan para sa mga OFW (I really don’t understand… It’s already small, still they slashed it. If it were me, doubling it by how many times more, I would do that for the OFWs),” he said.

Villar is making a plea to ” private groups to assist distressed OFWs, saying nothing can be done for now to increase the DFA’s budget.”

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