Press Release
September 28, 2011

Estrada commends labor attache Mustafa and
team for rescuing Gadhafi's Pinay 'kasambahays'

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, led the Senate in commending Philippine Labor Attache to Libya Nasser Mustafa and the Philippine Embassy for the daring rescue of two Filipino household workers from a recently ransacked Gadhafi household last September 19, 2011.

In proposed Senate Resolution No. 611, Sen. Estrada wrote: "the courage and devotion to duty shown by Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa and other members of his rescue team, as well as the cooperation extended by OFWs Diana Jill Rivera and Mary Ann Ducos, deserve the collective appreciation of and commendation by the Philippine Senate."

"He risked his life to save these two 'kasambahays' because clearly their lives were at imminent danger from both the rebel and Gadhafi sides," Sen. Estrada said.

According to the resolution, the nephew of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi employed the two household workers, Diana Jill Rivera and Mary Ann Ducos, and were staying with them at a farmhouse located in Tripoli, Libya.

Despite repeated requests by the Philippine Embassy to the Libyan employer for the release and repatriation of said workers, the employer refused and said that the Filipinos were safe and did not want to go home.

On September 17, a battalion of armed rebels ransacked the Gadhafi farmhouse where belongings of the employers and even the household workers were taken away. The high risk of these rebels returning to the same location prompted Labor Attache Mustafa to advance his rescue plan from September 22 to September 19.

With only the embassy driver and a Libyan friend who also doubles as an interpreter in the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) as his companions, Labor Attache Mustafa proceeded to the farmhouse to rescue the two "kasambahays" and bring them safely across the Libyan border to Tunisia.

According to Sen. Estrada, it was only fair to give full credit to the labor attache for going beyond the call of duty in saving the lives of Rivera and Ducos as well as countless other OFWs.

"While at times, we in the Senate are critical of how our embassies have failed to respond quickly to the needs of distressed OFWs, we are also quick to acknowledge those in the career service who perform their work diligently," Estrada explained.

He said that the commendation would hopefully spur other embassy and labor officials to emulate the example set by Mustafa and his team.

"Labor Attache Mustafa raised the bar in terms of service to our OFWs. While it was more convenient to simply wait for the National Transition Council to take over the helm of leadership in Libya, Mustafa decided to take the bolder route with the full knowledge and cooperation of the two household workers. Had he not taken this initiative, Diana Jill and Mary Ann would still be trapped in the Gadhafi farmhouse fearfully dreading the return of armed looters," Estrada stressed.

The resolution also cited the Philippine Embassy as well as the Blas F. Ople Policy Center for helping Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa attain his objective. According to Labor Attache Mustafa, the Ople Center served as his conduit to the OFW families throughout the planning and implementation of the rescue operations.

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