Palace condemns rape of Filipina nurse in Libya

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- Malacañang condemned on Thursday the kidnapping and alleged rape of a Filipina nurse by six Libyan youths.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Thursday reports that a Filipina nurse was abducted and raped before eventually being released in Tripoli, Libya.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also echoed the call of the DFA for the 13,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in strife-torn Libya to leave the North African country.

"Patuloy po nating hinihimok ang mga Pilipinong nananatili pa sa bansang Libya na sundin ang mandatory evacuation na siyang kahulugan ng Alert Level IV," the Palace official said.

Coloma said the DFA has formed quick response teams to help in the repatriation of OFWs from Libya.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said he would fly to Tunisia's Djerba Island near the Libyan border to help arrange the departure of the Filipino workers and their dependents from the Libyan cities of Benghazi and Misarata and the capital, Tripoli. The Filipinos will be brought by chartered ships to Malta, where they could take flights to Manila.

If access to the Tripoli port proves to be difficult, the Filipinos will be moved by land to Tunisia, del Rosario said. He also led a dangerous mission to evacuate Filipinos when a civil war broke out in Libya in 2011.

"Our major challenge, as in 2011, is to convince our folks that they must leave Libya at the soonest time to avoid the perils of a highly exacerbating situation there," del Rosario said.

A Filipino construction worker in Libya was beheaded two weeks ago and a nurse was abducted and gang-raped Wednesday, ratcheting concerns over the safety of Filipinos there.

The Philippines is among the world's top labor exporters with about a tenth of its 100 million people working abroad to prop up their families and the country's economy with the money they send home.(SDR/AP/Sunnex)

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