Philippine nationals in Libya told to stay indoors
MANILA – The Philippine government on Monday warned its nationals in Libya to stay indoors as it arranged for a ship to get them out of the country, amid a final thrust by rebels into the capital.
The government was working with the International Organisation for Migration to bring the Filipinos out by sea, as land routes for evacuation had been blocked, foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez said.
An estimated 2,000 Filipinos are still in Libya with about 1,200 in Tripoli and the surrounding suburbs, he said.
“For now, they have been told to just stay indoors, in their homes and work places and wait for the advice of the embassy,” he told AFP, adding it was not yet clear when an evacuation boat would arrive in the capital, Tripoli.
Hernandez said he expected some Filipinos to remain in Libya regardless of the security situation there.
“Many of them are medical workers and they are helping out in the hospitals, taking care of the sick and injured Libyan nationals,” he said.
Hernandez declined to comment on the possible fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, saying the Philippines was focusing on the safety of its nationals.
The government estimated there were about 26,000 Filipinos in Libya at the start of the fighting six months ago, but most of them left soon after the unrest began.
About nine million Filipinos work around the world, earning more money in a wide range of skilled and unskilled sectors abroad than they could in their impoverished homeland.
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