Filipino scholars studying at shelled Islamic Call College in Libya unharmed – PH envoy

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2020   •   210

MANILA, Philippines – Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato of the Philippine Embassy in Libya confirmed that all Filipino scholars studying at the Islamic Call College in Tripoli are all safe after several shells exploded just outside the campus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), meanwhile, reiterates appeal to Filipinos especially those working in the conflict-stricken city to avoid the areas of clashes and, if necessary, immediately evacuate.

In a separate tweet, Chargé d’Affaires Cato confirmed that a shell exploded just near the clinic were eight Filipino nurses were working.

The three nurses were evacuated on Thursday (January 2) prior to the blast.

The DFA assured that the embassy in Tripoli is ready to assist other Filipinos in relocating to safer areas so long as the situation on the ground would allow the rescue teams to reach them and will provide shelter to Filipinos who will be displaced by the conflict.

So far, more than 20 Filipinos have already evacuated their residences in Salahuddin District and are now staying with relatives and friends, the DFA reported.

The DFA said the Embassy will continue to assist Filipinos who may want to avail repatriation.

Three Filipinos so far have availed of the program since the start of the year, the DFA said.

Libya talks suspended after rebels attack Tripoli port

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Libya’s internationally recognized government on Tuesday (February 18) suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over the capital after eastern forces shelled Tripoli’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.

Footage from Tripoli’s port showed black smoke rising near docked ships from the area believed to have been hit by shelling.

The U.N. has been hosting in Geneva ceasefire talks between officers from the Tripoli government and the eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

The two factions have been trying to take the capital in a near year-long campaign, displacing at least 150,000 people.

The LNA on Tuesday shelled Tripoli port, saying first it had attacked a Turkish vessel bringing weapons but saying later it had hit an arms depot. Three civilians were killed and five wounded, the Tripoli forces said.

In response to the LNA attack, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said in a statement it suspended its participation in ceasefire talks “until firm responses are taken against the attacker, and we will respond firmly to the attack in appropriate timing.” (Reuters)

(Production: Ahmed Elumami, Seham Eloraby and Fintan McDonnell).

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.

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