• Melo Acuna

Filipinos from Algeria, Libya and Tunisia return home

More Filipino workers return home

MANILA – Filipino workers from Algeria, Libya and Tunisia returned home tonight on board a chartered Philippine Air Lines flight from Africa.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli oversaw the first repatriation composed of 227 Filipinos from Algeria, 39 from Libya and 15 from Tunisia.

In his report to Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Embassy Chargè d’Affaires Elmer G. Cato said the repatriation, which was the result of the collaboration between the Embassy and employers. This is the largest and most complicated repatriation carried out by the DFA from North Africa since the 2014 conflict in Libya. He added the repatriation took almost two months to implement because it involved coordination with employers and officials from the three countries.

Yesterday, a PAL Boeing 777-300ER landed in Algiers to fetch 227 Filipino construction workers from Hyundai Engineering Cooperation and Samsung Construction. The jet proceeded to Tunis to pick up 39 Filipinos from Libya and 14 from Tunisia. The repatriates from Libya included a four-month old baby, five government personnel, and the remains of hospital workers Herminia Estrada and Glenna Deza, two hospital workers who dieed due to non-COVID-19-related complications. They were flown to Tunis on board a Libyan Airlines A330 provided by the Libyan government as a reciprocal gesture for the accommodation by the Philippine government of 23 Libyans in the PAL flight from Manila. Six Tunisian nationals were also on board.

“This mission would not have been possible without the assistance of employers and the Libyan government and the support of the Home Office,” said Chargè d’Affaires Cato. He also expressed appreciation for the assistance from the International organization for Migration (IOM) and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for the COVID-19 tests conducted on the Libyan and Tunisian expatriates.

He added the repatriation is in compliance of President Duterte’s instructions to bring home stranded Filipinos in every part of the world. (Melo M. Acuña)

Filipinos from Northern Africa arrived late Monday evening. Photo shows Philippine Embassy to Tripoli Chargè d'Affaires Elmer G. Cato, center and extreme left in photos sending off the Filipino workers who opted to return home due to CVODI-19 pandemic. (DFA Photos)

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