04/07/2011, 00.00
LIBYA – PHILIPPINES
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Filipino nurses and Christian witnesses for Gaddafi and rebels, says Mgr Martinelli

Despite the war, more than 3,000 Filipino doctors and health care workers continue to work in the country’s various hospitals. The apostolic vicar of Tripoli stresses the solidity of the Catholic community in Libya. In the capital, about 200 Filipino sub-Saharan African Catholics attend weekend Masses.
Tripoli (AsiaNews) – In Tripoli and Libya’s main hospitals, some 3,000 Filipino health care workers, mostly women, continue to work despite the civil war underway. According to Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, their presence is an example of Christian witness for the local Catholic community and the Libyan population.

“Nurses and doctors continue to provide their services with passion and conscientiousness,” the vicar said, “giving their all to the Christian community in Libya”.

The prelate noted that Filipino nurses are employed in almost all of Libyan health facilities. Many of them are also in Benghazi, Misratah and Brega where fighting between troops loyal to colonel Gaddafi and rebels are still going on.

According to Filipino media, about 40 Filipino workers are being used as human shields by the colonel’s militias. “I don’t have sufficient information to confirm the news,” the prelate said. “It is hard to know what is going on in the warzones”.

Mgr Martinelli said that the situation in Tripoli stabilised following recent NATO air strikes. The Catholic community remains steadfast. At least 200 people, according to the bishop, mostly Filipino and sub-Saharan African migrants, take part in Masses celebrated in various languages on weekends.

“The presence at each celebration of all these faithful, who resist despite the war, expresses a desire to pray and be together, bearing witness to the importance of the Christian community.” (S.C.)

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