The Address | Benghazi – Libya
MANILA – Kin and government officials welcomed the seven acquitted crew members of the M/T Levante who arrived home in Manila on Tuesday night.
The seven crew were arrested in August 2017 on allegations of fuel smuggling and have been held since then but were acquitted and ordered released last week by the Libyan High Court after reviewing their case.
According to Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato, the department, through the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, worked closely with Libyan authorities to secure their release and kept the families of the seafarers in the Philippines constantly updated.
The department also shouldered the cost of the repatriation of the seven from Tripoli and provided them with PHP100,000 each in financial assistance that was sourced from the PHP1-billion Assistance to Nationals Fund approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The seven Filipinos were welcomed by their wives and children, together with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola.
Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Affairs Abdullah Mama-o and Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Mardomel Melico accompanied them on board a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul.