By Aimen Amzein and Noora Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 6 July 2014:
Benghazi’s Filipino nurses have said they will stay to treat . . .[restrict]the city’s patients despite deteriorating security conditions.
A Filipino diplomatic delegation headed by Chargé d’Affaires Adelio Cruz visited Benghazi last week to review the situation of its medical workers in the city’s hospitals, a diplomatic source told the Libya Herald. Of the 15,000 Phillipino nationals currently in Libya over 1,000 work in Benghazi hospitals.
Filipino diplomats were particularly concerned for the wellbeing of workers in Benghazi’s Hawari Hospital and the city’s psychiatric hospital which are closest to areas where fighting has been fiercest in recent months. They met with Filipino medical staff as well as officials from the Ministry of Health who explained current emergency procedures and gave assurances about their safety.
Overwhelmingly Filipino medical workers said they wished to remain at their posts. Many hospital workers from the country stayed in their positions during the 2011 revolution. The overwhelming view of the medical staff at Wednesday’s meeting was that they valued their jobs and wished to remain to help the city’s inhabitants.
The Filipino Department of Foreign Affairs has introduced voluntary repatriation for its foreign nationals who wish to leave Libya. However, only around 300 have opted to quit because of the security conditions.
The Philippines embassy in Tripoli has said it will continue to observe the security situation in Libya particularly in Benghazi’s hospitals, all of which have Filipino staff.
Of particular concern is the current stand-off between Ansar Al-Sharia and Benghazi Joint Sescurity Room over the protection of the city’s Jalaa Hospital. Negotiations which have now come to involve the highest levels of government including caretaker prime minister Abdullah Al-Thinni are yet to yield results.