DFA: Libya likely heading into civil war
MANILA, Philippines—The situation in conflict-stricken Libya is very “volatile” as the country continues to appear to be heading into a civil war, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
“The teams we sent there have assessed the situation as very volatile and the Philippines is not the only country that has made this assessment,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a press briefing Wednesday.
“Many countries have closed their embassies and others have imposed a travel ban. Some have told their nationals to leave,” he said.
The United States, India, and China are among those which have instructed their nationals to leave the country immediately, while Korea, Pakistan, and China have imposed a travel ban.
Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Algeria have closed their embassies in Libya.
Crisis alert level 3 is currently in effect which entails the total deployment ban on new hires and those with existing contracts.
Jose said that the situation in Libya is “chaotic” and that “lawlessness reigns” because of the lack of government, military or police to impose peace and order.
Political instability has plagued the country since the removal and death of dictator Moammar Gadhaffi last 2011. The country is divided among armed militias and Islamist groups fighting for control.
The security situation worsened further after a former army general took troops loyal to him and launched an attack against the militias without authorization from the government.
“The primary concern of our government is the safety [of OFWs]. While they can still get out, let’s not wait for the situation to worsen,” Jose said.
The first batch of Filipino repatriates from Libya are set to arrive in the country Wednesday as more Filipinos there sign up for voluntary repatriation due to the conflict that has been spiraling out of control.
“53 Filipino repatriates will arrive today, the first batch composed of 20 Filipinos will be arriving via Emirates flight EK 332 at 4:30 p.m. while the second batch will arrive via flight EK 334 at 10:10 p.m.,” Jose said.
“51 of the 53 are part of the workforce of Doosan company of Korea, these are the overseas Filipino workers who have availed themselves of the voluntary repatriation progress of government. There are still 198 Filipinos waiting to be repatriated [in Libya],” he said.
Asked whether the DFA was studying raising the crisis alert level to 4 which entails mandatory repatriation, Jose said that “that depends on how situation unfolds in Libya, if the situation warrants it, we could. But we hope that the situation will normalize and stabilize.”
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