Joblessness in PH keep OFWs in Libya—priest

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QUEZON City, August 12, 2014— There’s a simple reason Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Libya do not want to return to the Philippines: When they come home, they come back to joblessness and hunger, says a Filipino priest assigned in Benghazi.

“Most of them cannot decide to leave because they are thinking more of the joblessness and the hunger they might experience in the Philippines than their own personal safety,” said Fr. Amado Baranquel, a Filipino priest who heads the Mary Immacolata Parish in Benghazi.

Thousands of Filipinos are opting to stay in Libya despite ongoing violence and conflict between the Libyan government armed forces and militia groups. (Photo: CBCP News)

Over Radyo Veritas, he shared it saddens him to learn that, given the real threat to their lives in the Middle East, fear of unemployment and starvation in their own country are what deter Filipinos from finally leaving Libya.

Baranquel explained that only the certainty of employment in their home country will convince the thousands of migrant workers in Libya to consider repatriation.

The priest also appealed to the government to assure the OFWs, many of whom are breadwinners, that the Philippines is worth going home to, even after the loss of their jobs to the ongoing conflict there.

He underscored how important it is that the government offer job security to the OFWs to persuade them to return home.

Baranquel also invited the Filipino people to offer prayers for the safety of OFWs in Libya.

“Please call people to pray for peace and security here in Libya, especially among the OFW’s,” he said. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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