Press Release
March 7, 2011

Transcript of interview with Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri

On mopping up operation of DFA in Libya. What's your assessment?

S/MIGZ: We must give credit where credit is due. After the department has realized that our compatriots were complaining and they decided to move faster and we have to give credit to Sec. Del Rosario for having himself go there. Remember, when I made those statements that there were inactions by the DFA. After we made that statements, after it came out in public then the DFA secretary had rushed to Libya to put himself in harm's way and bring these guys back to the country. However, we still have about 50 percent of our people still on the ground and what we are seeing in the international news organization ay nagkakagulo na the rebel groups have been amassing arms and amassing troops and they are going to do a push towards Tripoli. I am worried about the safety of our Filipino OFWs, about 50 percent are still left behind. I believe that they should exert a lot more effort to convince some of these OFWs who actually who do not want to return because they feel that they have a better life there to at least repatriate to a country close by, with of course provisions for food and housing instead of remaining in Libya because overnight it can quickly turns very dangerous for our OFWs there if a civil war will erupt....if the civil war escalates.

During the (DFA) presscon earlier, it is apparent that they still have no track on these 13 thousand. I think they should make an effort or a point that they know exactly where each and every OFW is in this particular time in Libya so that if there is any emergency evacuation that needs to be done for the remaining OFWs it can be done quickly, swiftly and efficiently without having any problems. What was apparent is earlier they still had a confusion on how many was there, how many was brought back and how many was in the country kasi iba iyung inuwi sa Pilipinas, iba iyung natanggal sa Libya, apparently 13 thousand had been removed from Libya but 4 thousand had returned to the country so saan sila? Saan ang nawawalang 9 thousand Filipinos are they in Egypt, in Greece.

I'd like to put this on record kasi sinasabi natin ito dahil marami pong mga OFWs ay taga Bukidnon, and the reason why we were reacting like this is many are from Mindanao and had been asking support from our office to facilitate their return and i hope that this will not be misconstrued as grandstanding on our part to help these OFWs and drumbeat support from our government to act quicker, act with dispatch. I think it is still not enough because 50 percent is a large number hah buti sana if we have only have ten percent left so there's still 50 percent of our OFWs remaining in Libya today, as what they have said today hah.

Hindi naman sa not good enough, id like to use the word, may be we should not anymore put the blame, my request to them is let us pull them out already there's 50 percent left there, 13 thousand, let's pull them out to safer territory. The civil war will surely escalate and there will be bloodshed in the streets and we can not wait for one OFW to be either raped or killed during these violent activities that will erupt between pro and anti Gadaffi forces.

I think they should have a more efficient response for other distressed countries. I really believed that they should have a better response, they should come up with a manual for each OFW and do not expect the employer to be the one to give the emergency manual of what to do in case of emergency it should come from the government from the DFA similar to the US Embassy whenever there are Americans that travelled to the Philippines they are given a list of things to do and not to do..including emergency phone numbers, safe houses to go, consuls to go tingin ko dapat pagandahin pa nila ang template nila para kung mangyari muli ito sa Bahrain, sa Oman, and other countries tulad ng Yemen ay mayroon na tayong mode of action or plan of action. What is needed is a repatriation plan for the region for Arab nations. It should be a quick action and the DFA should come up with a think tank for Arab region who will make the decision.

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