OFWs returning to Libya told: Be vigilant

VACATIONING Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to Libya are advised to be vigilant in the wake of frequent shelling incidents at the Mitiga International Airport, the sole functioning airport in Tripoli.

“The incidents of shelling during the past several days have not only resulted in the suspension of flight operations but have also endangered the lives of hundreds of civilians using the only functioning airport in Tripoli for inbound and outbound travel,” the Philippine Embassy in Libya said in a statement on Friday.

“Filipinos flying to and from Mitiga are advised to take these factors into consideration when making their travel plans,” it added.

Libya was placed under Alert Level IV which prohibits sending of new workers in said country.

“Some of those exempted from the Level IV restrictions also use the airport as a transit point to other places in Libya where they work,” said Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato.

Meanwhile, Cato said repatriation efforts of the embassy are ongoing, with 12 applications being processed at present.

The embassy had been using Mitiga to repatriate Filipinos from Tripoli and is also used by members of the augmentation teams from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Due to the present stateo of the Mitiga International Airport, Cato said the embassy will most likely evacuate future repatriates first to Tunis by land.

The ongoing conflict in Libya began when units loyal to the Libyan National Army advanced toward Tripoli to capture the capital from forces aligned with the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord in April.