Saturday, March 05, 2011

Stories about Libya from Filipino returnees


Of the 3,544 Filipino workers who had been evacuated from Libya, over 600 had already arrived to their home country while 500 opted to stay in the conflict-torn North African nation.
The ABS CBN News said that those who decided to stay in the country believe that the violence will soon be resolved much like how it went in Egypt.
Filipinos call the Libyan leader by the code name "Kaka" in order to avoid the ire of his supporters who might overhear their private conversations.
Returnee Peter Miranda, an electrician-mechanic in Tripoli, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, "We were careful not to give offense, in case the Gaddafi loyalists were eavesdropping on our conversation and thought we were saying bad things about their leader."
The Filipino community usually talked about "Kaka" particularly when the turmoil started, according to the 31-year-old overseas worker.
"When we saw Kaka’s tanks coming in, we thought, it was time to get out of here."
Describing the on-going turmoil as "Libyans against Libyans," Miranda said that the people there treated the Filipinos well.
He further said, "Libyans were kind to us, unlike how they treated Egyptians and other nationals. At the checkpoints, when they saw we were Filipinos, they would wave us off, just saying 'go, go, go,' and they'd let us pass."
"Sometimes, they'd think we were Chinese, but that was not a problem, since they were good to the Chinese too."
The Filipino worker also said that because Libyans do not like some Egyptians thinking that they somehow started it all when Mubarak was deposed, the latter were being held at checkpoints.
Another Filipino was Pedro Marasigan, 61, and his daughter Amira, 12, who came home in the same group as Miranda's. Pedro suffered from stroke in November that made his legs paralyzed.
Their group was one among the convoy of 38 vehicles that took them to the Tunisian border. Luckily, they did not experience harassment in the 30 checkpoints they had to pass through.
When they reached the Tunisian border, they had to go on foot. Miranda recalled that at one point, he offered to carry Marasigan at his back.
"The crowds were overflowing. We were on the line for eight hours," Miranda said.
The Tunisian police were pushing the Bangladeshis, Egyptians and Indians to the side.
"The Tunisians were kind to Filipinos as well. They would give us bread, cupcakes, milk and even blankets."
When asked why the good treatment to the Filipinos, Miranda said, "because Filipinos were known for 'not causing trouble.'"
Details of this story here.
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