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Filipino Nurses: Loved and Respected in Libya
Mar 13, 2011

Amidst the growing violence and civil unrest that Libya is experiencing, hundreds of Filipino nurses and other medical workers still choose to remain in the Middle Eastern country. According to Foreign Undersecretary, Esteban Conejos, the selfless act of these overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are appreciated by local Libyan nationals. The fact that the Filipino nurses earned the admiration and respect in Libya, the reputation of the Philippines is also improving in the Middle East.


Conejos who had a brief two-week visit to Libya and Tunisia said, “That's why our nurses deserve our admiration and also, I guess it's the reason Libyan people love Filipinos there."


The Undersecretary informed that there are about 1,300 Filipino nurses employed in the largest hospital in Libya, the Tripoli Medical Center. There are also 600 Filipino nurses working in the Benghazi Medical Center. Most of these nurses decided to stay in Libya despite the risky situation because of their professional commitment.


There are also at least 70 nurses from the two Libyan hospitals mentioned who had returned to Manila for fear that they would be left behind when the conflict grows worse.


According to Conejos, those who chose to remain said, “'Sir, we cannot go, we are medical personnel. We should be the last ones to leave hospitals. There are people dying here."


Conejos said that the Libyans are grateful that the Filipino nurses are still in their country and for continuing to serve the interest of the Libyan people in the middle of the political conflict.


He added, “Wherever we go, in Libya, in Tunisia, people would wave at us, 'Philippine, Philippine.' Our reputation is good in that part of the world."


However Conejos also said that monetary reasons is part of the reasons why many Filipino nurses chose to stay as nurses in Libya get excellent perks and privileges.


He said, “They'd tell me also, it would be a pity, the privileges of our nurses in Libya are so good. The highest paid there would be paid ranging from about a minimum of USD800 to even as high as USD2,000."


Recently, the Libyan government increased the salary of the nurses not just twice but three-fold."


Conejos added, “The benefits are even bigger for those who have been there for 15 years. If they were to leave, “they told me, we stand to forfeit our gratuities and benefits."


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