DFA now in 'full repatriation mode,' says Acting Foreign Secretary Del Rosario

February 26, 2011 6:07 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Feb. 25 — More than 100 Filipinos are now out of harm’s way in Libya and are to be repatriated to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported, as it welcomed on Friday newly sworn-in acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs (SFA) Albert del Rosario who declared that getting Filipinos out of Libya is a commitment of his first days in the post.

“Our objective is to do this as quickly as possible. The DFA is fully committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of our beloved Filipinos in Libya,” Del Rosario said.

“In view of the escalating violence and widespread insecurity in Libya, the Department is on a full relocation and repatriation mode,” he declared on his first official day of work.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) estimates that 13,000 Filipinos will be repatriated at employers’ expense and the rest through the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) of the Philippine Government with assist from the International Office of Migration.

While voluntary repatriation is encouraged, the Philippine embassy in Tripoli said that Filipinos who feel safe where they are at present, ”should remain there until further notice” and advised those offered repatriation by their employers “to go for it.”

Already, 97 Filipinos working on the OEA Grands Project have planed out for Manila, via Paris, DFA said.

Twelve Filipinos from the Benghazi-based Al Nahr Engineering Limited are being repatriated by their employer, with some to be evacuated anytime via the British Naval Fleet to Malta.

Some 300 Filipinos were evacuated to a safe area in Tripoli from Brega, Jalo and the Zahara Desert and their repatriation may be undertaken by their employer, which owns a plane with a 100-passenger capacity.

In addition, 70 Filipinos out of Libya are expected in Marmaris in Turkey anytime now, according to Philippine ambassador to Turkey Peter Chan. The group was flown out by their Turkish employers and will be assisted on flights back to the Philippines. Three of their compatriots decided to stay put in Benghazi.

DFA is also arranging for ferry boats to transport Filipinos out of Tripoli to Malta and those from Benghazi to Crete across the Mediterranean Sea. The Philippine Honorary Consul in Malta is arranging for their entry to Malta.

Earlier, 13 Filipinos have left Libya: 12 who worked for a Korean construction company and a woman have arrived in Egypt and are just waiting for a flight out.

The first Filipino to be repatriated out of Libya, Engineer Benjur Urusugan from Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, arrived in Manila on Thursday. (PNA)

DCT/scs/GJB

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