By Leslie Ann Aquino
The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People is urging Filipinos in Libya to consider returning home amid the escalating clashes there.
“The situation is Libya is uncertain, volatile and unstable. Their stay is not secured, and their work is not stable,” CBCP ECMI Chairman Bishop Ruperto Santos said in an interview.
Santos said he is confident the Philippine government is ready to assist the Filipinos who have been repatriated from Libya.
He said even the migrant ministries in the different archdioceses and dioceses are willing to help those who will return here.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has raised Alert Level III (voluntary repatriation) in Libya and urged Filipinos in Tripoli and nearby areas to leave to avoid getting caught in the middle of fighting between rival factions.
In a statement, DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli recommended raising the Alert Level following the escalation of the fighting that included the shelling of residential areas in the outskirts of the capital.
Alert Level III will cover Tripoli and areas within a 100-kilometer radius of the capital.
The department said Filipinos in areas near the fighting should move to safer ground or request the embassy for assistance in their repatriation before the fighting intensifies.
It said Filipinos working in Libya will not be allowed to return to that county until the situation stabilizes and the alert level is lowered.