First batch of OFWs from Tripoli now en route to PH

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DAVAO CITY (April 20 ) — The first three Filipinos evacuated by the Embassy from Tripoli have departed Tunis ad now en route to the Philippines.

The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were assisted by the augmentation team from the Department of Foreign Affairs led by Executive Director Enrico Fos at the Tunis Carthage International Airport. Another four will be repatriated from Tunis on today.

On Wednesday morning, the Embassy came to get Rolando Torres, an OFW who narrowly survived the barrage of rockets that struck Tripoli late Tuesday night. 

Rolando has been working in Tripoli since 2006 and had seen the Libyan capital at its most violent but the attack last night that wounded the Nueva Ecija native in the forehead was different. He now wants to go home.

A total of seven of the 20 Filipinos in conflict-torn Tripoli, who availed of the repatriation offer of the government, are now en route to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA in a statement said “The first batch of seven Filipinos — three hospital workers and four students — were evacuated by the Philippine Embassy this morning to Tunisia where they will be repatriated to the Philippines.”

Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato said 13 more Filipinos who requested assistance in getting repatriated are expected to arrived in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, in the next few days.

The embassy is being assisted by augmentation teams from the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs stationed in Tripoli and in Tunis, led by Executive Director Enrico Fos and Director Iric Arribas.

According to the agency, the DFA shouldered the cost of repatriating the four students from an Islamic school in Tripoli while the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) shouldered the airfare of the three employees of the Ali Omar Ashkar Hospital outside Tripoli.

Of the estimated 1,000 Filipinos in the Libyan capital, only 20 have so far requested for repatriation despite efforts of the Embassy to convince them to go home to ensure their safety.

On Tuesday night, several residential areas in Tripoli were hit by barrage of rocket fires, the first since the fighting began early April.

The attack resulted in four fatalities with 23 others wounded, including a Filipino who was injured in his forehead.Following this, five overseas Filipino workers, including the one injured, asked if they could be temporarily accommodated in the Embassy. -EZC/NewsLine.ph

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