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Happy to be alive: Filipinos tell of escape from Libya

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OFWs from Libya. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Twenty-eight Filipino workers from war-torn Libya arrived home in the past week, with horrifying tales of their escape from the fightings of rival militias there.

“There was no place you could call safe there. Even at the Philippine embassy, we were not safe,” said Leonida Gonzales, 39, one of three overseas workers robbed by men clad in Libyan police uniforms just in front of the gate of the Philippine embassy last Friday morning.

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“I am happy to be alive,” said Gonzales, said in an Inquirer interview.

Gonzales, a domestic helper in Libya, said she and two others were using their mobile phones outside the embassy when they were held up at gunpoint by at least two men clad in police uniforms and on board a police patrol car.

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They took her 400 Libyan dinars (P14,000) and her cellphone. Her two Filipino companions were also robbed of their remaining cash and mobile phones.

“They took all the money we had; we have nothing now. We only have our clothes with us,” she said.

Gonzales said she and the 27 other people flown home by the Department of Foreign Affairs from Tripoli via Qatar Airways were lucky they were plucked out of the strife-torn Libyan capital just before the end of the Eid al-Fitr.

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TAGS: escape, Libya, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), repatriation, Unrest
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