DFA Sends Six-man team to Assist in Libya Repatriation Efforts

The former Benghazi Cathedral, which was later...Image via WikipediaA February 23, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will send a six-man quick response team to Libya on Wednesday night to augment the personnel complement of the Embassy in Tripoli in the light of increasing tensions in the country.

The team, to be led by DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) Executive Director Ricardo Endaya, will assist the Filipinos who are availing of the voluntary repatriation program implemented by the Embassy and the DFA.

Together with the Filipino community coordinators, they will reach out to the Filipinos and move them to safe relocation sites in Tripoli, Benghazi and Al Baida.

For Filipinos employed by companies with repatriation plans, they are encouraged to join the effort. The DFA and the Embassy is encouraging the companies to commence repatriation efforts, in tandem with the Embassy.

The DFA has also instructed the Philippine Embassy in Cairo to dispatch staff members to the Libyan border to meet up and provide assistance to Filipinos who will be crossing the border to Egypt.

The DFA also has arrangements with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the latter’s aid in the repatriation of Filipinos. The Embassy is also in touch with the IOM office in Libya.

In a press conference Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban B. Conejos said that in light of recent events, the alert level in Libya was raised to alert level 3–voluntary repatriation.

For Filipinos in Tripoli who wish to avail of voluntary repatriation, they are advised to call the Embassy or community coordinators in their area. They are asked remain indoors and not go out alone in the streets.

Those in Benghazi, Al-Baida and other areas are similarly asked to communicate with their sectoral coordinators. They are also advised to stay put and not venture outdoors alone.

The Embassy officials and community coordinators are contacting the Filipinos in Libya to inquire about their condition and inform them of the Embassy’s voluntary repatriation program.

The DFA also made available an additional US$50,000 to the Embassy, and will further augment it with US$100,000 for the voluntary repatriation program. The Departrment of Labor and Employment has also committed P25 million to assist in the program.

It has activated a 24-hour hotline number for families of Filipinos based in Libya. The hotline number is 834-4580.