PH Embassy in Libya receives 7 requests for repatriation
MANILA, Philippines — Most Filipinos in Tripoli “still feel they are safe,” a Philippine envoy said as he cited this as the reason why the Philippine Embassy had so far received only seven requests for repatriation despite the escalating tension in Libya.
Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato on Tuesday told INQUIRER.net that only seven Filipinos have requested for possible repatriation amid the escalating tension near Libya’s capital.
“The reason we only have what would appear to be a low number is that our kababayan (fellow Filipinos) in Tripoli still feel they are safe because the fighting is still in the outskirts,” he said.
He added that the embassy will try to repatriate them “fast” if the “situation escalates.”
In an earlier tweet, Cato said there are around 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, and in nearby areas.
He also mentioned that no Filipinos had so far been reported to be among those injured in the clash “in the immediate outskirts” of Tripoli.
Alert level III
On Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised Alert Level III in several districts in Libya amid the rising violence in the country.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that the alert level was not for the whole country, but only for Tripoli, and its “adjacent districts plus a 100-kilometer radius.”
Under the Alert Level III or the “voluntary repatriation” phase, Filipinos working in Libya but are currently in the Philippines will not be allowed to travel back to the country “until the situation in the country stabilizes, and the alert level is lowered back to II.”
The embassy has also advised Filipinos living and working within a 100-kilometer radius of Tripoli to consider returning to the Philippines.
Embassy remains open to Filipinos in Tripoli
In a Facebook post over the weekend, Cato has given assurances that the Philippines “did not close its Embassy nor pulled out its diplomatic staff from Tripoli.”
Cato’s post came “after it was reported that some countries evacuated their diplomatic staff from Tripoli.”
These reports, he noted, resulted to calls coming from “frantic” Filipinos “who wanted to be sure we (diplomatic staff) have not quietly left the country.”
“Apparently, they heard rumors that we, at the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, have been ordered to move to Tunis,” he wrote.
“Even at the most violent period in Libya’s recent history, the Philippines did not close its Embassy nor pulled out its diplomatic staff from Tripoli,” he added. /ee
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