By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 16 June 2014:
Filipinos in Libya have criticised the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) decision to raise the security . . .[restrict]alert level in Libya from two to three.
The decision, first announced on 18 May following the start of Operation Dignity, was lowered back to two on 21 May but raised again on Monday. It means that Filipinos are supposed to return home to although the authorities in Manilla cannot compel them to do so. However, once they go home, they are not allowed to fly back to Libya.
“This decision is affecting a lot of Filipinos here in Libya who consider Libya as their second home,’” a Filipino worker in Tripoli involved with the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) organisation in Libya and who wished to remain anonymous told the Libya Herald. Filipinos in the capital, he claimed, were deeply unhappy with the decision and had criticised their embassy for not “making a proper assessment of the situation”.
He cited the cases of Filipino workers who had had to return home because their visas had expired or those who had gone back on vacation.
He added that Filipino workers in Libya were not affected by any violence in Libya including those in Benghazi. “They [Filipinos in the Benghazi] told us that fighting took place in isolated areas of the city. I think there was an over-reaction from the embassy here,” he said.
The Phillippines ambassador, Oscar G. Orcine, however, defended the DFA’s decision to raise the level, saying it had relied on feedback from the diplomatic community in Libya, UN agencies and Libyan media reports about the security situation in Libya and acted accordingly.
Meanwhile, a Filipino worker died in Tripoli over the weekend but of natural causes. According to Filipino news agency ABS-CBN, Jason Balute who was working in Sirte died of cardiac arrest on Saturday in Tripoli. [/restrict]