Only 19 Of 1,000 Filipinos in Libya Want to Go Home

Only 19 of around 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli wanted to be repatriated as the rest working or living in the Libyan capital saw no immediate need to go home, the Philippine embassy there said on Monday.

Chargés d’affaires and Philippine head of mission Elmer Cato, said on Twitter, “Philippine embassy in Libya visited Filipino nurses at the Oil Clinic in Tripoli to tell them about our repatriation offer. There were no takers. They said they would stay. It’s Day 10 of the conflict but only 19 of the 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli want to go home.”

Replying to Cato’s tweet, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., said, “They are the best of the Filipino race.”

“PhilnLibya (Philippine embassy in Libya) met with some of the remaining Filipino nurses at the University of Tripoli Medical Center. Most have been in Libya since the 1980s. Some are grandmothers now. We came to ask them to go home. They said they will stay,” Cato said in a separate tweet.

To which Locsin replied, “Balls. I will slap anyone who suggests we forcibly remove them. They go when they want to go and we in government will take them out.”

In his Facebook post, Cato said that after visiting the University of Tripoli Medical Center, he and other embassy staff proceeded to the Oil Clinic being managed by the National Oil Company to check on the condition of Filipino workers there.

“There are more than 100 Filipino nurses and other hospital staff working there. Most of them are also veterans of the fierce fighting that took place in the capital in 2014,” he said.

“And just like the rest of our kababayan (fellowmen) who are still in Tripoli, Filipinos at the Oil Clinic are convinced that there is no need for them to go home,” Cato said.

Cato on April 12 reiterated his appeal to Filipinos in Tripoli to move to safer locations because the fighting in the outskirts was expected to intensify.

He also called on Filipinos in Tripoli and surrounding areas “to have themselves and their dependents repatriated as soon as possible.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on April 8 raised the crisis alert level in Tripoli from 2 to 3 or voluntary repatriation to ensure the safety of Filipinos amid tensions in the Libyan capital.

It also prevents Filipinos from travelling to Tripoli until the situation normalizes. The only way to lift the restriction is for the DFA to wait for the situation to stabilize.