By Analou De Vera
The seven Filipino seafarers who had been acquitted of fuel smuggling in Libya will receive financial and livelihood assistance from the government, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that the assistance to be given to the seafarers is part of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) reintegration program.
“The reintegration program of the government– OWWA will give them financial assistance. Then, we can extend to them yung livelihood assistance, tapos lahat ng mga anak nila will be covered by scholarship–educational scholarship up to college,” said the labor chief. [The reintegration program of the government– OWWA will give them financial assistance. Then, we can extend to them the livelihood assistance, then all of their children will be covered by scholarship—educational scholarship up to college.]
The seven seafarers arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on Tuesday evening onboard Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. They were welcomed by government officials and their families.
The seafarers had been detained in Libya since 2017 after being sentenced to four years in prison for an alleged attempt to smuggle 16 million liters of fuel.
“It is something…because they are acquitted. They are not responsible for any crime so, they can go again in the future to any country in the world because they are innocent,” said Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Abdulla Mama-o.
Mama-o thanked the Libyan government forn the “speedy disposition of this case and the ultimate release of our brothers who had been there for quite a time.”
“Our government definitely, under this administration, did not abandon them in the course of their fight for justice,” said Mama-o.