Intensifying clashes in Tripoli, Libya, has forced the Philippines’ “Task Force Libya” comprised of Cabinet officials to move to Tunisia for safety.
Special Presidential Envoy Abdullah Mamao with Libya Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa Al-Sarraj (left photo), and with Libya Foreign Minister Mohammad Taha Sia (right photo).
The Task Force Libya is comprised of Special Presidential Envoy to Kuwait Secretary Abdullah “Dabs” Mamao; Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello; Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu; and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Abul Khay Alonto.
Also with the team is Charge d’Affaires Norodin Lomondot of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. Bello did not go with the team.
As this developed, another source said he received information that “Mamao and Lomondot are still in Tripoli…Mamao is in Palm City where UN personnel are staying.”
President Rodrigo R. Duterte formed the team during a Cabinet meeting recently and tasked the members to go to Libya to find ways to negotiate the safe release of the three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) kidnapped by terrorists in their work site.
They left Manila on August 28 for Kuwait before proceeding to Libya.
Information reaching Scitech and Digital News, showed only Mamao, the presidential adviser on OFWs and Muslim Concerns, Lomondot, and Tago were able to proceed to Tripoli. They stayed for three days.
With some of the OFWs in Libya.
Alonto and Cimatu who tried to follow later were not able to proceed to Tripoli because the deadly clashes had already intensified. They stayed put in Tunisia.
But the clashes in Tripoli among rival militia groups prompted the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli headed by Charge d’Affaires Mardomel Mellicor to move to Tunisia along with the embassy officials and staff.
In their short stay in Tripoli, Mamao together with Mellicor and Tago were able to meet with Libya Government of National Accord Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa Al-Sarraj during which they discussed the plight of OFWs abducted on July 6.
The prime minister with Foreign Minister Mohammad Taha Sia, among other Libyan officials.
Al-Sarraj is also chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council established on December 17, 2015 after the Libyan Political Agreement.
Some more OFWs in Libya.
Duterte had instructed Mamao to seek a meeting with the prime minister.
No other details of the meeting were available.
On Libya Monitor, an online news platform in Tripoli, it reported about the meeting, saying that the two sides also discussed the Philippines’ willingness to provide Libyan hospitals with medical workers and training for its medical staff.
Al-Sarraj expressed appreciation over thousands of Filipino workers’ decision to stay put in Libya even at the face of danger.
“We appreciate the steady relations we have with the Philippines, especially that the medical cadres working in Libya have always remained in their positions favoring help to getting away from trouble during rough times,” the Libyan official.
Al-Sarraj was referring to around 3,500 OFWs who chose to stay put despite dangers to their lives in the war-torn Arab country because of lack of jobs back home.
Dr. Dimapuno “Jun” Alonto Datu Ramos, Jr., director and media head of the Bureau of External Affairs of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF-BER) provided the information after chatting with one of the members of Task Force Libya.
All the photographs were contributed by Task Force Libya through Datu Ramos. (EKU)