MANILA (UPDATE) - Seven Filipino seafarers who have been acquitted of fuel smuggling in Libya were reunited with their families on Tuesday night.
Arthur Taleño, Fulgencio Eulogio, Abraham Naduma, Gil Mercedes, Aldwin Emperado, Ronnie Moniva and Claro Aliera arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 at 6:59 p.m. on board Turkish Airlines TK84 from Libya via Istanbul.
The seamen were detained in Libya in 2017 after a lower court sentenced them to 4 years in prison for allegedly attempting to smuggle 16 million liters of fuel.
The Libyan High Court ordered their release last February 28.
Thirteen other Pinoy crewmen were released in February 2018 but the remaining 7 were charged.
The 7 seafarer’s wives said they are excited to be reunited with their husbands and are glad that their ordeal is over.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the seamen will receive financial and livelihood assistance as part of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWW) reintegration program.
Their children will also receive free education up to college, Bello said.
Aside from Bello, OWWA chief Hans Leo Cacdac, and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola were among those who welcomed the seafarers home.
-- With reports from Raoul Esperas