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Pinoy Abroad

DFA: Libyan rebels assure safe passage of fleeing Pinoys

August 24, 2011 1:50pm

Rebel groups in Libya have assured the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that Filipinos will be allowed to leave their country safely.

DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez told Malacañang reporters on Wednesday that, “Representatives from the rebel groups have already visited our embassy in Tripoli and assured us of a safe corridor for the passage of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) to the port of Tripoli and onward."

Once the repatriation arrangements have been prepared, Philippine officials will ask overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Libya to avail of the repatriation by sea which is being coordinated with the International Organization of Migration (IOM).

Philippine officials and the IOM are mapping out safe routes for Filipinos wishing to be repatriated.

“Our plans of repatriating our OFWs are still there. Our priority is their safety and security. We are very much now firming up the plan with the IOM and once everything is set we will have the 91 Filipinos who have expressed their interest on being repatriated and get them on board," Hernandez said.

Some 1,600 Filipinos are still in Libya, most of them are medical workers who are “faithful to their vocation," Hernandez said.

Abducted Pinoy engineer

Earlier in the day, Hernandez said a Filipino engineer reportedly abducted by rebel forces in Libya escaped from his captors and is now safe.

On Tuesday, Hernandez said armed men took the vehicles of an International Organization of Migration (IOM) representative and the Philippine labor attaché.

Forces still loyal to Libyan long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi staged a desperate stand in Tripoli as rebels fought their way into the capital, according to a report on Reuters.

Rebels have urged Gaddafi, 69, to surrender and to have an orderly transition of power.

Reuters said the six-month-old battle for control of the oil-rich North African nation appeared to enter its final stages.

“Rebels say they are now in control of most of Tripoli," it said. - with Jesse Edep, VVP, GMA News
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