Philippines urges Filipinos in Libya to leave immediately

Philippines urges Filipinos in Libya to leave immediately

MANILA, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government urged on Saturday the overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) still in strife- torn Libya to leave immediately as exit routes in the North African country are swiftly shutting down.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that only about 800 OFWs out of an estimated 13,000 have so far been evacuated from Libya over the last few weeks.

There are currently over 200 in the Philippine embassy in Tripoli who are being processed for repatriation, it said.

The DFA appealed "with urgency to those who have not made the decision to be repatriated to please consider doing so as the avenues of repatriation are quickly diminishing."

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario flew to Tunisia to personally oversee the repatriation of OFWs from Libya.

He met on Friday with 95 OFWs, who were ready to be repatriated and assured them and those who have yet to avail of the current mandatory repatriation program, of the continuing assistance of the Philippine government.

Del Rosario asked the workers to convince their friends and co- workers who are still in Libya to avail themselves of mandatory evacuation being undertaken by the government due to the escalating violence and lawlessness in that country.

"Major airports have been closed, thus narrowing the options for repatriation," Del Rosario said.

The Philippine government has contracted a ship that would fetch Filipino repatriates from Benghazi, Misrata and possibly Tripoli and then back to Malta as transit point for flights to Manila, the DFA said.