A Filipino worker flashes the peace sign after returning from Libya, Saturday. Many others have refused to return to the Philippines. Pic: AP.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines’ top diplomat says fewer than 2,000 of about 13,000 Filipino workers and their dependents have expressed a desire to leave Libya despite their government’s frantic effort to evacuate them from the strife-torn country.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told The Associated Press late Sunday that many of the Filipinos were apprehensive about leaving their jobs in Libya, but said the government has chartered a ship to evacuate those who signed up to be fetched from the cities of Benghazi and Misarata and the capital, Tripoli, this week.

The closure of two major escape routes to Tunisia and Egypt has complicated the evacuation efforts.

Del Rosario flew back to Manila on Sunday from Tunisia after helping arrange the repatriations in Libya, where a Filipino had been killed.

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