Gov't ready to bring home Filipinos amid fighting in Libya

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 6) — The Philippine Embassy is on alert amid rising tensions in Libya, where around 2,000 Filipinos are working.

In an interview with CNN Philippines Friday night, Chargé d'Affaires Elmer Cato urged the Filipinos to get in touch with Philippine officials if they would want to be repatriated or would need any form of assistance.

"We remain on alert here at the embassy and we're just waiting for calls from our kababayans (fellow Filipinos) so we can come and get them if they request to do so," Cato said.

All costs for bringing them home will be shouldered by the government, he added.

He also revealed that the situation in the country's capital, Tripoli, "looks normal" but added that the embassy has received reports of fighting near Tarhuna town, less than a hundred kilometers from Tripoli.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier advised Filipinos in Libya, especially those within the 100-kilometer vicinity of Tripoli, to be vigilant and exercise "extreme caution" in the wake of "recent escalations and the threat of outbreak of war in the country." It said it is monitoring the security situation amid reports of fresh fighting in Libya as rebel forces from the east of the country try to enter the capital.

Cato also urged the Filipinos to stay indoors and stock up on food, water and other necessities.

Overseas Filipino workers planning to return to Libya are "strongly advised" to postpone their flight until tensions subside, the DFA said.