My brother ‘trapped’ in Libya

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By Nef Luczon

Pencalibur

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


THIS is an appeal not just to those people sitting in the Department of Foreign Affairs, but also to those people who are kind enough to resonate this message to both government and private agencies until my brother will come back home to the Philippines, alive.

I am sure that you will do exactly the same thing I do, if your relatives or close members of the family is in this kind of situation.

While hundreds of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) arrived this week from the conflict-torn, post-Gaddafi Libya, some thousands more remain in that country. But unlike those who wish to stay on that land, my brother, Napoleon Emmanuel, has finally decided to heed the call of the Philippine government to come home.

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But he has a problem: he is currently “trapped” in a small town where he is working.

My brother is one of the millions of Filipino nurses who ventured finding a good fortune overseas, for about a decade working in Middle-East, most of it were spent in Libya.

Prior to the Anti-Gaddafi revolution in 2011, my brother would describe the country, in his letters/emails as laid-back, peaceful and simple. He even compared the women he saw as living Virgin Mary statues.

Despite discouragements from my parents, my brother opted to stay even after the revolution. Of course, like many OFWs, they worry that if they will come back home, they will have no jobs awaiting for them.

What finally made up his mind to return home was the news that an OFW was kidnapped and beheaded by militant groups in Libya. He said, in his communication with our relatives that it was a “wake-up” call.

Unfortunately, he is situated in Marzam/Derna area, a small town with only very few OFWs like him, and despite his interest to join the repatriation called for by the Philippine Embassy, he is unable to do so because traveling by land, from one town to the point of repatriation is dangerous.

Let me include his recent correspondence two weeks ago, and I appeal to the authorities once again that they may find a solution. One life is never less:

***

“There is only one embassy and is located in Tripoli (west of Libya). They (Philippine Embassy/DFA) went to Benghazi (east) last Thursday (July 24) until Friday for a meeting and listing of names. They have
come up a solution on how to evacuate, by sea travel from Benghazi to Greece.

“They will gather at least 100 repats (repatriated OFWs) and might take 3-4 weeks before boarding. So far on the list is below 50. They omitted land travel (which is) supposed to be their original plan but because it’s too risky. I am in Marzam (far east) and still staying 2 months here. But this is a safe and peaceful small town. But the problem is how to get there in Benghazi because going (by) land travel is toorisky.”

“A week ago, 15 Egyptians were killed going to (the) border to Egypt and an Indian family of four were abducted going to Tripoli and still missing. Honestly I have no direct contact with the embassy but instead (I am) channeling through friends in Benghazi, who are assisting the embassy staff during their stay.”

“But they have my name already and knew my situation. I have their hotline numbers as they posted on FB (Facebook). I tried to call it (for the) last 22nd time, it rang (but) then THEY put it down so I left a message that I want to be repatriated and asked to whom I will coordinate. Until now no reply.

“Anyway, auntie, don’t worry, I’m in a safe place. They said there are 13,000 Pinoys here and 300 listed for repat. Most of my friends are convincing me to stay put. Hoping for good results. I will try to contact them again and wait for their advice.”

[Email: nefluczon@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 06, 2014.

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