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DFA to repatriate first batch of OFWs from Libya

OFWs being evacuated from Tripoli

Personnel from the Philippine Embassy in Libya evacuate Filipino workers from Tripoli. (Photo from a video posted on Twitter by Charge d’Affaires Elmer Cato)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has evacuated seven overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Tripoli as tension continued to rise in the Libyan capital.

The seven OFWs were brought to Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, from where they will embark on a flight back to the Philippines, according to Elmer Cato, chargé d’affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Libya, said in a tweet late Wednesday.

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Three of the OFWs are hospital workers and the remaining four are students.

“Thirteen more will be repatriated in the next few days,” Cato said in his tweet.

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Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said there were no forced evacuations and repatriations in Libya, as the OFWs themsleves have the final decision.

“We appeal and that is all; no forcible evacuation because it cannot be done physically,” Locsin said in a tweet Wednesday night.

“But OFWs decide. We respect working people,” Locsin added.

Despite this, Cato insisted that Filipinos there should “seriously consider our offer to bring them or their children home.”

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DFA earlier raised Alert Level III in Tripoli and several districts in Libya.

Under Alert Level III, or the “voluntary repatriation” phase, Filipinos working in Libya but are currently in the Philippines on vacation will not be allowed to travel back to the African country “until the situation in the country stabilizes, and the alert level is lowered back to II.”

Hurt Filipino in Libya now safe

Cato also reported that the Filipino man who was hurt in a rocket attack in Libya had been taken into custody by the Philippine Embassy.

He said they rescued the man from his flat near the location of the explosion.

“He is thankful he is still alive. He asked us to bring him home,” Cato said.

/atm

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TAGS: Libya civil war, OFWs in Libya
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