Philippine Government to Evacuate its Citizens from Libya

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MANILA - The Philippine government said Friday it planned to bring 13,000 of its citizens from riot-torn Libya with the help of their employers, though it gave no timetable.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the government was making arrangements for Filipinos to escape via chartered ferries and commercial flights.

The ferries would take Filipinos from Tripoli to Malta, and those based in Benghazi, Libya's number-two city, to Crete.

"In view of the escalating violence and widespread insecurity in Libya, the department is on a full relocation and repatriation mode," he said, adding the government had advised Filipinos to head to designated points.

"Our objective is to do this as quickly as possible. The (government) is committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of our beloved Filipinos in Libya."

The statement said the government estimated 13,000 Filipinos would by taken out of the country under the evacuation programme.

The government estimates there are 26,000 Filipinos working in Libya. The other half are expected to leave the country with their multinational employers.