By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has appointed Charge d’es Affaires Elmer G. Cato as the new ambassador to Libya, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said, Wednesday.
“It must have been after I announced that the President gave me the okay to make you ambassador so the last foreign post in Tripoli is complete with an ambassador should worse come to worst,” Mr. Locsin said in a social media post, Wednesday.
The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, Libya has been monitoring Filipino migrants, affected by the fighting in Tripoli, which started on April 4. This stemmed from military operations intended to take the capital from the United Nations-recognized government.
“Please refer to him as Ambassador Cato. No man more deserves the title. I asked the President and he said (go) for it. If the embassy falls with him in it I want it to be reported the embassy fell with its ambassador,” he said in a separate post.
Mr. Cato, for his part, has been actively assisting overseas Filipino workers who’ve decided to stay in the conflict-stricken area and those who have sought the government’s repatriation offer.
Just recently, Mr. Cato met with H.E. Ambassador Charles Saliba of Malta in Tripoli to discuss the current situation. Tripoli is home to over 1,000 Filipino migrants.
Mr. Cato welcomed his appointment, saying in a social media post, “It was Lean Alejandro who once said: ‘In the line of fire is the place of honor.’ The men and women of the Philippine Embassy in Libya are honored to be here in the frontline serving our country and our people. Not all are given this opportunity.”
“We are not going anywhere, Sir. With or without body armor or helmets, we will stay here with our people,” he assured.
The Embassy reported as of May 29, a total of 70 OFWs have been repatriated with the assistance of the government.