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DFA expects 2,000 OFWs out of Libya by weekend

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it hopes to get more than 2,000 Filipino workers out of Libya by the end of the week.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a statement that 1,637 Filipinos from Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata have expressed intention to join the evacuation organized by the Philippine government while another 400 workers of Hyundai construction company will be ferried out of Libya by their employer this weekend.

Breakdown of Filipinos who signed up for evacuation per area as of Wednesday are as follows: Tripoli – 599, Benghazi – 436, and Misrata – 602.

Jose said the Filipinos will leave Libya via two exit routes – by land through the Libyan border with Tunisia and by sea through a rented ship bound for Malta.

Only those from Benghazi and Misrata will board the ship for Malta, where they will be flown directly to Manila through chartered Philippine Airlines planes.

Since the Libya-Tunisia border was re-opened, those coming from Tripoli will travel by land using this exit point, Jose said.

The ship, which was hired by the Philippine government for $ 1.8 million, will be picking up Filipinos in the ports of Benghazi and Misrata on Aug. 10 and 11, respectively. It is scheduled to reach Malta on Aug. 12.

If all those who signed up for evacuation will show up on the scheduled date of repatriation, the number of Filipino evacuees will reach at least 2,000.

Before the war broke out, there were 13,000 Filipino workers across the North African state, mostly employed as health workers, construction workers and engineers.