Twenty-three distressed Filipino workers were repatriated from Lebanon in time for the Christmas holidays, the Department of Foreign Affairs said today. The DFA said most of the workers, including one child, were illegally recruited in violation of a ban on overseas workers in Lebanon but the Philippine embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Beirut arranged the repatriation on December 24 and paid for their flights anyway. "Almost all of the 23 OFWs have violated the total deployment ban to Lebanon which was implemented on 18 June 2007. They were illegally recruited and they arrived in Beirut in 2009 and 2010, some of them arriving in the last three months," the DFA said in report posted on its website. After deployment to their employers or to their Lebanese recruitment agencies, however, the workers ran away and sought shelter at the Filipino Workers Resource Center in Beirut for labor-related problems. The Philippine representatives secured from their employers or the Lebanese immigration office the exit clearances for them, without payment of the deployment cost of the employer. A government team welcomed the 23 workers in Manila and provided transportation from the airport to their homes as well as temporary shelter in a government-run hostel. The repatriates were also to be interviewed upon their arrival at the airport in order to gather information on the persons responsible for their illegal recruitment, the DFA said.
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