By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 29 August, 2013:
The Filipino ambassador in Libya, Oscar G. Orsine, has refuted accusations from a Filipino workers organisation, . . .[restrict]Overseas Filipinos Workers in Libya (OFWs), that he has not been looking after the interests of the Filipino community in the country.
“We don’t stoop to their level. We are suspicious of these people [the administrators of the OFWs Facebook page],” Orcine stated to the Libya Herald, xpressing astonishment at the allegations made against him and questioning the credibility of the accusers,
OFWs published a letter on their Facebook page which collected 16 signatures from reportedly different Filipino labour leaders in Libya accusing the ambassador of “incompetence and abuse of authority” while serving as the ambassador of the Philippines in Libya. It said that he had not provided “enough support to them to create a better atmosphere for OFWs in Libya when the community faced tough security challenges” in post-Qaddafi Libya.
Sam Sung (a pseudonym for the Filipino who filed the complaint on Facebook) criticised the ambassador for “dividing the Filipino community in Libya” and of favouritism regarding the Philippines Community School in Tripoli. Sung claimed that he had received threats for his activism in the Filipino community in Libya.
Filipinos in Libya have rushed to the ambassador’s defence. Doris Battad, a Filipino nurse and a community leader in Benghazi, claimed that around 400 signatures in Benghazi and 600 signatures in Tripoli had been collected from the Filipino community to demonstrate solidarity with Orcine in face of the criticism against him from what Battad said were people “who do not represent the Filipino community in Libya.
Battad, who has been living in Libya for the last 20 years, told the Libya Herald that Orcine whose ambassadorship covers eight countries including Tunisia, Libya, and Mali, was not to be blamed for what some Filipino workers and migrants encounter in post-Qaddafi Libya.
“He has been appointed only a few months ago. The few people who complain about his performance have vested interests”, Battad explained.
Orcine did not visit the hospital where Battad works in Benghazi, the Children’s Hospital because it had not received any complaint from Filipino workers. Besides, there is high security at the hospital, Battad added.
“They cannot represent all Filipinos in Libya. They are exaggerating things,” she said of Orcine’s critics.
There are about 8,300 Filipino health workers in Libya, with over 4,000 working in Benghazi hospitals and clinics.