In Tunisia, Sec. Del Rosario Directs Repatriation of OFWs from Libya

2015-0316 In Tunisia, Sec. Del Rosario Directs Repatriation of OFWs from Libya

File photograph of foreigners in Libya awaiting evacuation. / AFP

MANILA – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert F. del Rosario visited Tunisia from March 12 to 13 to review and direct the implementation of the Government’s mandatory repatriation program for Filipinos in Libya.

There are an estimated 4,200 Filipinos remaining in Libya.

Tunisia neighbors Libya to the northwest, and is the main exit point for Filipinos being evacuated out of Libya.

At least 3,000 of the more than 4,000 Filipinos who have been repatriated since the Philippine Government started implementing mandatory repatriation in June 2014 transited through Tunisia.

The Government renewed its urgent call for Filipino workers in Libya to avail themselves of the program in view of the deteriorating situation in the country, especially following the abduction of seven Filipino nationals in two separate incidents in the past month.

Secretary Del Rosario met with 41 Filipinos there who recently left Libya, and are scheduled to fly out of Tunis soon.

Their evacuation was facilitated by the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, Libya. Secretary Del Rosario appealed to them to urge their remaining Filipino friends and acquaintances in Libya to heed the government’s advice and come home.

He also made calls to several Filipinos still in Libya representing various Filipino community groups to personally encourage them and their friends to join the others who have already left the country.

While in Tunis, Secretary Del Rosario took the opportunity to meet with the Ambassadors of Austria, Bangladesh, and the Czech Republic, whose nationals were among those  abducted following the attack on the Al Ghani oil field by an unknown armed group on March 6.

The condition and whereabouts of the nine foreigners, including the four Filipinos, remain unknown.

The officials agreed to coordinate closely and create a crisis team to facilitate the search for their missing nationals.

Secretary Del Rosario was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Rafael E. Seguis and Assistant Secretary for Middle East and African Affairs Julius D. Torres.

They were assisted by the Charge d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli Adelio Angelito S. Cruz and the Philippine Honorary Consul in Tunis Sonia Ayed Sayah.


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