Palace urges Pinoys to leave Iraq, Libya

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2014 04:44 PM | Updated as of Jun 17 2014 05:36 PM

MANILA - Malacanang on Monday reiterated its calls for Filipinos in Iraq and Libya to voluntarily return to the Philippines as security in those 2 countries continues to deteriorate.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the Department of Foreign Affairs has placed both Iraq and Libya under Alert Level 3, or voluntary repatriation for Filipinos.

"Hinihimok ng ating Department of Foreign Affairs ang lahat ng mga Pilipinong nasa mga mapanganib o maligalig na lugar na bumalik sa ating bansa at ito ay sasagutin ng ating pamahalaan, he said. "We are calling on our residents, especially those who are in the danger zones, to voluntary repatriate themselves or return to the Philippines at government expense," he said.

Coloma, however, admitted that the government cannot compel Filipinos to come home.

Some Filipinos have expressed concerns they won't be able to find means of livelihood if they return home.

"Nasa pagpapasya na po nila ‘yon dahil hindi naman tayo namimilit. Meron po tayong idineploy na quick response team na pumupunta roon para kausapin din ang ating mga kababayan," Coloma said. "Meron din naman kasing mga kategorya ng mga Pilipinong naroroon na binigyan na rin ng exemption partikular doon sa Libya."

"Meron ng mga specific exemptions na ibinigay ang ating DFA, lalong-lalo na doon sa mga nagtatrabaho sa mga household ng mga diplomats at ng Libyan National Oil Company," he added.

"Yung mga may pamilya, ano, dahil sila ay asawa ng mga Libyan citizens at doon na sila naninirahan.Meron namang mga opsiyon ang mga partikular na grupo na ‘yan at iginagalang naman ng ating pamahalaan ang kanilang pagpapasyang manatili sa bansang Libya."