Envoy reiterates plea for repatriation after another Filipino gets hurt in Libya fighting

Marje Pelayo   •   April 25, 2019   •   929

MANILA, Philippines – Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato on Wednesday (April 24) reiterated his plea for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Tripoli to go home.

Cato reported on his social media post that another Filipino, whom he did not name, was wounded when a mortar round fell and exploded in their compound near the Tripoli International Airport .

He added that the Filipino was working for an oil and gas service provider outside the capital Tripoli.

“Our kababayan is lucky he only sustained a shrapnel wound in his right foot. His Sudanese coworker was not—he was killed in the explosion,” Cato said.

Cato said the incident came only a few days after mortar rounds struck a hospital in Qasr bin Ghashir where 18 Filipino nurses working survived. A few days earlier, six Filipinos were caught in the middle of intense clashes in Ain Zara town and several Filipinos who were taken over by armed men also asked the embassy’s help to convince their employers to move them to safety.

“Some of us may not be lucky the next time rockets or mortars rain in on Tripoli,” the official said.

“So before the fighting intensifies further and before it gets closer to where many of our kababayan are in Tripoli, we plead to them and to their families in the Philippines to please seriously consider our offer to bring them home while we still can,” he concluded.

The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli maintains Alert Level 3 in Tripoli which means voluntary repatriation is taking place.

Thus, the Embassy continues to advise Filipinos in the African country to volunteer themselves for repatriation. – Marje Pelayo

115 feared dead after worst Mediterranean shipwreck of the year

Robie de Guzman   •   July 26, 2019

Female migrant wiping tears from eyes after a wooden boat carrying migrants capsized off Libya. | Courtesy: Reuters

The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, says up to 150 people are feared dead after a wooden boat carrying migrants capsized off Libya.

The head of the UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, said in a tweet that it was the worst such tragedy in the Mediterranean this year.

The Libyan navy said it had rescued 134 people, with 115 missing, feared drowned.

It said about 250 people were on board the ship when it capsized off the coast near Khoms, east of the capital Tripoli. Most are thought to be from Eritrea and other sub-Saharan Africa and Arab countries.

Dozens of survivors were brought to Khoms after being rescued. A Sudanese migrant, Sabah Youssef, who lost her seven-year-old son in the sinking, blamed the International Organization for Migration for turning her away when she went to them for help.

Libya is a hub for migrants and refugees, many of whom try to reach Europe in unseaworthy boats. The latest shipwreck takes the death toll of Mediterranean migrants to over 600 this year. (REUTERS)

(Production: Seham Eloraby, Hywel Davies)

DFA warns Filipino jobseekers against recruitment to Libya

Marje Pelayo   •   July 24, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has warned Filipino job seekers against individuals in the Philippines who have been recruiting workers to Libya.

The DFA emphasized through the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli that recruitment, processing, and deployment of Filipinos in the Philippines or abroad remains suspended for all jobs in Libya.

“The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has also informed the Embassy that it has not issued any approval to any individual or agency in the Philippines and in Libya to recruit and deploy nurses, engineers, and other workers to Libya,” the Embassy added.

According to the advisory, only Filipinos with existing work contracts and certificates of exemption from the Embassy and those who are on vacation in the Philippines are allowed to return to Libya.

Amid the escalating civil war in Libya, the Embassy said it is currently working with Libyan authorities to ensure the safety and security of Filipino workers in the North African state.

The Embassy reminds Filipinos recruiting jobseekers to Libya from the Philippines and other countries that they are liable for violating the law in accordance with the Anti-Trafficking Persons Act and the Migrant Workers Act.

The DFA encourages the public to report such illegal activities to the DFA, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or other concerned agencies of the government in the Philippines.

Those abroad may report to the Philippine Embassy and Consulates in their host countries for any act of illegal recruitment to the conflict-stricken nation.

At least 44 dead, 130 wounded in strike on migrant centre in Libya – U.N.

Robie de Guzman   •   July 5, 2019

Migrants walking through rubble in bombed migrant centre | Courtesy: Image grabbed from a Reuters video

At least 44 people were killed and more than 130 wounded in an air strike on a migrant detention centre in the Libyan capital Tripoli, the U.N. mission to the country said on Wednesday (July 3).

U.N. Libya envoy Ghassan Salame condemned the attack, saying in a statement that the strike “clearly amounts to the level of a war crime”.

It was the highest publicly reported toll from an air strike or shelling since eastern forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive three months ago with ground troops and aircraft to take the capital, base of Libya’s internationally recognised government.

Libya is a main departure point for migrants from Africa fleeing poverty and war and trying to reach Italy by boat, but many are picked up and brought back by the Libyan coast guard, supported by the European Union.

Thousands are held in government-run detention centres in what human rights groups and the United Nations say are often inhuman conditions.

The conflict is part of chaos in the oil-and-gas-producing nation since the NATO-backed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. (REUTERS)

(Production: Ayman Sahely, Nadeen Ebrahim, Helen Joyce)

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