MANILA – At least 110 more overseas Filipino workers from Libya are expected to leave the North African country amid the government's mandatory repatriation order.
On Friday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario met with some 95 OFWs who were ready to come home. He urged them to convince their friends and co-workers who are still in Libya to avail of the Philippine government's mandatory evacuation.
The batch of evacuees, who crossed the Tunisian border of Ras Ajdir on July 31, was bussed to the island of Djerba while awaiting their flights to Manila on Sunday.
Del Rosario said more OFWs in Libya are also awaiting repatriation amid the escalating violence.
"In addition to that, we were supposed to have 50 OFWs crossing the border," Del Rosario said. "We have about 6,000 in the greater Tripoli area, 90 in the embassy for the assistance to come here, and a list of about 419 who have expressed their desire to come home."
Meantime, Del Rosario said with two borders closed, the one closest to Benghazi and the Libyan-Tunisian border, they have contracted a ship from Malta to bring OFWs in Libya out of harm's way.
The DFA chief admitted that efforts to convince Filipinos to come home remain a challenge.
"We want everyone to come home because we see that the conditions here are very dangerous," he said.
He added, "Our options are getting more limited everyday. The main airports are closed. The next best thing is by sea. We have just concluded verbally the contracting of a ship that will carry 1,500 OFWs. It will start from Malta to Benghazi and then work its way eastward to Misrata, and if necessary, to Tripoli and then back to Malta."
An estimated 13,000 Filipinos are in Libya. So far only about 800 have been repatriated. -- Report from ANC