DFA readies Filipinos in Libya for possible evacuation amid unrest
By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday raised the alert level for Libya from II to III (voluntary repatriation) amid unrest in the capital due to continued factional fighting.
In a statement sent by Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato, the agency told the Filipino community in the Arab country to prepare for possible evacuation.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who is in Jerusalem with President Rodrigo Duterte, already informed Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the decision to upgrade the crisis alert level “due to escalating violence that threatens the safety and security of an estimated 3,500 Filipinos who are still there.”
Under Alert Level III, those with valid employment contracts who are currently on vacation in the Philippines will not be allowed to return to Libya.
Cato said the agency is placing on standby rapid response teams to assist the Philippine embassy in Tripoli in evacuating the 1,800 Filipinos who are in the capital.
The factional fighting has been raging for more than a week now as country’s United Nations-backed government recently declared the capital, including its outskirts, under state of emergency.
On Monday, the embassy advised the Filipino community to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary movement due to mounting violence and criminality, such as reported looting, robbery, and car theft, among others.
Filipinos who may require assistance are requested to contact the embassy at: +218 91 824 4208 and +218 94 454 1283.
Meanwhile, next of kin in the Philippines may contact the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs at (+632) 834-4996 and firstname.lastname@example.org during office hours and DFA Action Center +632 834-3333 or 834-4997 after office hours. (PNA)