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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, August 11, 2014
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Return of Negrenses
from Libya hits snag

BY CARLA GOMEZ

The return to the Philippines of Negrenses in strife-torn Libya, who  were set to board yesterday a vessel sent by the Philippine government to rescue overseas Filipino workers there, has been postponed.

Ernesto Begot Jr. of Barangay Bata, Bacolod City, said they were unable to board the vessel that was supposed to pick them up as they were told that the new date for its arrival at the Benghazi port in Libya is Wednesday.

We were unable to board the vessel because the port in Benghazi is closed, Begot said.

“We were told we will be boarding it on August 13, depending on the situation,” he also said.

The Libya Herald online Saturday said “In what seems like an expansion of the current pro-Islamists anti-Islamists fighting and divide in eastern Libya, the official spokesperson for the Dignity operation, led by retired General Hafter, Mohamed Hijazi, said that Benghazi port will be closed as of today.”

Hijazi said that all port traffic will be diverted to the port of Tobruk, the Libya Herald added.

“The reasoning for this,” Hijazi explained, “was to counter the trafficking of arms and ammunition into the port of Benghazi arriving from both Misrata and Derna in aid of what he called extremists”, it added.

Hijazi warned that any sea traffic to and from Derna and Misrata, and to Benghazi, would be fired at, the Libya Herald said.

Begot said the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, issued an official statement to OFWs wanting to return home, informing them of the postponement of their pickup date to August 13.

The statement also said the Philippine Embassy is continuing to help OFWs at the border of Libya to enter Tunisia where they can then be flown back to the Philippines.

The statement calls on Filipinos wanting to return to the Philippines to go to the Philippine Embassy the soonest possible time to register for repatriation.

“We are hoping our repatriation can be hastened because we are so stressed here, there are still those signing up to go home and some backing out,” Begot said.

So far, our area seems to be quiet, we are in our housing area waiting for instructions, Begot said.

Begot also said he and Anthony Napaliatan from Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, who had worked at the Al Jalla Trauma Hospital, were among the OFWs, who were to board the rescue vessel in Benghazi.*CPG

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