Fearing coronavirus, OFWs in Algeria ask PH gov’t to bring them home

Sofia Tomacruz
Fearing coronavirus, OFWs in Algeria ask PH gov’t to bring them home


At least 152 Filipinos working in construction sites remain stranded in the African country

MANILA, Philippines – Fearing sickness and longing for their families, Filipinos working in Algeria are appealing to the Philippine government to help bring them home as the coronavirus disease continues to spread in the African country. 

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Naam and Jijel, Algeria, aired their cry for help in a video message posted on Facebook, where they expressed their anxiety over getting the virus which has infected 8,697 and killed over 617 in their host country as of Wednesday, May 27.  

Sana po ay matugunan ang aming hinaing at kahilingan dahil nag-aalala po sa amin ang aming pamilya po namin na huwag na po sana natin hintayin na isa po sa amin na madapuan po ng sakit na ‘to,” said the Filipinos in Naam.

(We hope our plea and request are addressed because our families are worried about us. Let’s not wait for one of us to get sick with this disease.) 

The OFWs in Naam said they were working in a construction site of Samsung Construction and Trading (C&T) and had already finished their contracts when the country imposed a lockdown. The Filipinos have since been stranded for two months and counting. 

Filipinos in Jijel also working in a construction site of Hyundai Engineering also appealed to the Philippine government to bring them home as they could no longer send help to their families waiting for them in the Philippines.  

The Philippine embassy in Tripoli, Libya, has jurisdiction over Filipinos in Algeria.

How the government responded: The Philippine embassy in Libya assured the Filipino workers it was “doing everything” to facilitate their return home as soon as possible.  

In a statement posted on its social media accounts, the embassy said it has been in touch with Hyundai Engineering Corporation and Samsung C&T to try and repatriate 152 Filipinos working in at least 3 construction sites.   

“The embassy has conveyed the urgent need for both Hyundai Engineering and Samsung C&T and their recruitment agencies in the Philippines to take into account the apprehensions of our workers concerning their possible exposure to the coronavirus and to repatriate them as soon as possible,” the embassy said. 

“The embassy would like to believe that both Hyundai Engineering and Samsung C&T are reputable employers that take good care of their Filipino workers. As such, the Embassy is looking forward to their cooperation on this very serious matter,” it added.

The embassy urged the companies to inform Philippine authorities if they were not ready or willing to repatriate the Filipinos as soon as possible so that the DFA and Philippine labor department could facilitate repatriation efforts. 

“The Embassy would like to assure our kababayan in Algeria that if Hyundai Engineering and Samsung C&T would not be able to respond positively to this humanitarian concern, we will come and get you and reunite you with your loved ones back home,” it said. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.