Mandatory Evacuation of OFWs in Libya Ordered
Aug 23, 2011
The escalating political tension in Libya urged the Philippine government to raise the alert level in this Middle Eastern country to 4. This alert level demands mandatory evacuation and repatriation of Filipinos and the cost will be shouldered by the government.
According to the data from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), an estimate of 1,600 Filipinos are still in Tripoli and other cities in Libya. Many of them are working as nurses and medical workers. The sad news is that out of this number, only 91 Filipinos expressed their wiliness to be repatriated.
To prepare for the repatriation, DFA Undersecretary Esteban Conejos said that the International Organization for Migrants has contracted a ship that can accommodate up to 400 Filipinos and bring them from Tripoli to Alexandria. Commercial flights to the Philippines are available once they are in Alexandria. The Philippine government plans to charter another aircraft for the safe return of Filipinos in Libya to the Philippines.
Since the capital of Libya is now under the control of rebel forces, the Philippine government asked the Filipinos in Libya to be extra careful and stay indoors. Deputy presidential spokesperson, Abigail Valte said that for safety purposes, Filipinos who want to avail the repatriation should call the embassy first.
Valte said, "As of the moment, we were told that it’s very unsafe doon po sa streets so stay where you are and please try to contact the embassy first before making any decision to move out of your homes or your places of employment."
She also gave an assurance that the staff of Philippine Embassy will stay in Libya until all Filipinos are repatriated.
The Philippine Embassy in Libya is closely monitoring the situation 24/7 and the hotline numbers of the DFA for families of Filipinos who are in Libya are still open: 834-3240, 834-3245, and 834-3333.
Meanwhile the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reminded the public that there is still a deployment ban to Libya. The POEA said that the deployment ban stays "until the political and the security situation has normalized.”