MANILA (Mabuhay) — At least 95 overseas Filipino workers are due to return from strife-torn Libya, and have crossed the Tunisian border of Ras Ajdir last July 31, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.
The DFA said Secretary Albert del Rosario met Friday with some of the OFWs, who it said are ready to be repatriated.
“This current batch of Filipino evacuees crossed the Tunisian border of Ras Ajdir on July 31. They were bused to the Island of Djerba, over 120 kilometers from the border, where they are being temporarily hosteled, while awaiting their flights to Manila on Sunday,” the DFA said.
During the meeting, del Rosario assured the OFWs of the government’s continuing assistance for them.
A Philippine government rapid response team has representatives from the DFA, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), and Philippine foreign service posts in surrounding areas.
Meanwhile, del Rosario urged the OFWs to convince their friends and co-workers still in Libya to avail of mandatory evacuation undertaken by the government.
He also noted the border crossing between Tunisia and Libya was closed due to the shooting incident on July 31.
Also, the border crossing from Libya to Egypt at As Salloum has been closed for some months now.
“After several attempts to contract sea vessels which may be the only means of repatriation, the DFA was able to contract a ship that will, within a few days time, travel from Malta to fetch repatriates from Benghazi, Misrata and possibly Tripoli and then back to Malta as transit point for flights to Manila,” the DFA said.
The DFA said there are 13,000 OFWs in Libya. Over the last few weeks, about 800 have been repatriated.
“There are currently over 200 in the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli who are being processed for repatriation and this number is rapidly increasing,” the DFA said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli may be reached at:
Embassy of the Philippines
KM 7 Gargaresh Road, Abu Nawas
P.O. Box 12508, Tripoli, Libya
Telephone numbers (00218) 918-244-208
E–mail addresses email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also put up are 24-hour hotlines numbers (02) 552-7105 / (02) 834-4685 for families who have questions and concerns about the condition of their relatives in Libya.
The DFA may also be reached via email@example.com. (MNS)