By Roy Mabasa
The Philippine government on Tuesday urged all Filipinos in Libya to take the necessary precautions after a state of emergency was declared in Tripoli as a result of factional fighting that has already claimed several lives.
In a statement, the Foreign Affairs office called on Filipinos, particularly those in Tripoli, to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary movement as the situation in the Libyan capital is tense.
The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli has reported instances of looting, robbery, car theft and other crimes.
According to Chargé d’Affaires Mardomel Melicor, the estimated 1,800 Filipinos in Tripoli should also make sure they have enough food and water to last a few days.
“They should also prepare for disruptions in power supply and internet connectivity,” Melicor said.
Melicor added that the Embassy remains ready to respond to any request for assistance from the Filipino community.
Last week, Libyan authorities were forced to close down the operations of Mitiga Airport, the main airport in the capital of Tripoli, due to sporadic fighting of warring factions in and around the city.
The airport closure also reportedly prompted Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu to cancel his flight to Libya and instead opted to fly to Amman, Jordan in time for the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte starting tomorrow, Wednesday.
Cimatu flew to the region in the hope of joining President Adviser on OFWs Abdullah Mama-o and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Ezzedin Tago to negotiate for the immediate release of the three Filipino engineers who were abducted by still unidentified men at a water project site in western Libya in June.
It is not yet known if Mama-o and Tago are still in Tripoli following talks with high-level Libyan officials last week.
On orders of President Duterte, Mama-o and his delegation flew to Libya on Wednesday to work on the immediate release of the kidnappe