By Roy Mabasa
As fighting rages between warring factions in Libya, 11 more Filipinos returned home from Tripoli Sunday night, bringing to 84 the total number of OFWs who have been repatriated since April.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the 11 Filipinos belonged to the seventh batch of the continuing repatriation program being initiated by the Philippine government following the outbreak of hostilities mainly between the forces of the Libyan National Army, led by renegade commander Gen. Khalifa Haftar, and the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord based in the capital.
Reports said fighting has intensified in and around the Tripoli International Airport over the weekend.
Many of the Filipinos, who are still in Libya, reportedly continue to refuse to be repatriated for fear that they would not be able to find sustainable jobs back in the Philippines.
The Philippine Embassy in Libya has estimated that there are still over 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli despite the intensified fighting.
The least the Philippine government could do at the moment is to advise the remaining Filipinos to immediately move to safer grounds if the fighting gets near their residences or workplaces.
It has reiterated its commitment to assist Filipinos who may be displaced by the fighting that has been raging in the southern outskirts of the capital which has already claimed almost 700 lives.