PH diplomat asks families to convince OFWs in Libya to come home
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine embassy’s charge d'affaires in Libya appealed to families of overseas Filipino worker to convince the OFWs to come home amid the conflict in the capital city of Tripoli.
The Department of Foreign Affairs had started repatriating OFWs from Libya’s largest city last Thursday, April 18, two weeks after intense fighting broke out between militias that had overthrown Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
Of the over 1,000 Filipinos in the Libyan capital, only 22 have so far requested to be repatriated. Seven of them had reached Manila a few days ago, the embassy said.
“We would like to appeal to the families in the Philippines of our kababayan here in Tripoli to help us convince them to go home,” Charge d'Affaires Elmer Cato said in a Facebook post Saturday evening, April 20.
“We understand they are here to provide for their families back home, but the situation here is becoming increasingly dangerous for those who want to stay. Like their loved ones in the Philippines, we just want our kababayan here to be safe. We want to bring them home alive,” he said.
Cato said the embassy had received queries from some Filipinos, but these OFWs remain undecided on leaving Tripoli.
On Friday, embassy officials were at the St Francis Church to convince the Filipinos to agree to be repatriated “while we still have a window to get them out.” However, “they told they would rather stay.”
“If we cannot do it (convince them), then perhaps their families in the Philippines can,” Cato said.
The diplomat said a Filipino was wounded when a rocket was launched Tuesday toward a neighborhood in Tripoli where more than 200 Filipinos are residing. On Wednesday, in the outskirts of the city, mortars struck a hospital, where 18 Filipinos were working. On Saturday, just before Cato posted the appeal on Facebook, at least 6 Filipinos were trapped in fighting in their neighborhood. – Rappler.com