Business as usual for OFWs in Libya amid tensions

MANILA Despite the declaration of alert level III or voluntary repatriation phase in Tripoli and its surrounding areas by the Philippine government, life goes on for Filipinos living and working in the region, an official said Saturday.

"For many of our kababayan, the situation here in Tripoli is still normal despite the danger that looms just a few kilometers away," Charge d'Affaires Elmer Cato said.

The envoy said many of these Filipinos have been in Tripoli for a long time and have witnessed a seemingly endless cycle of violence and counter violence.

But in each meeting with them, Cato noted that the Philippine embassy in Tripoli has repeatedly appealed that they "seriously consider" the government's offer to repatriate them while it still can.

"They tell us they are used to it and just like in previous fighting in the capital, the latest round will soon be over and it will be business as usual," he said.

"We hope they are correct but we cannot take any chances. We need to make sure our people are out of harm's way," Cato added.

The embassy said it has received 19 requests for repatriation so far, while 49 Filipinos were evacuated by their employers to safer places.

Libya has witnessed escalated tensions over the past few days after Libyan security forces launched a counter attack against units loyal to its rival, the Libyan National Army, which have marched east of the country with an aim to claim the capital.

In his latest statement, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there is "still time" to stop the violence in Libya and to avoid the worse.

This, as he noted that no military solution could resolve the ongoing conflict in the country. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency