Some 40 Filipinos have rejected the Philippine government’s call for all Filipino workers to leave Libya and return home.

The Department of Foreign affairs said if offered 40 nurses and engineers its repatriation program, but they refused to take it. The workers assured the department that they were safe in Tripoli amid the ongoing civil war, GMA News reported.

The DFA said there are around 2,000 Filipinos in Libya and half of them are in Tripoli, capital of the north African state. Despite calling for a mandatory evacuation earlier this month, only 55 Filipino workers have returned to the Philippines.

Elmer Cato, Chargè d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, said some Filipinos in Libya chose to stay in the country because of their salaries. Majority of those who chose to stay in Libya are nurses working in hospitals.

Cato said the government was still encouraging Filipinos in Libya to use the repatriation program and return home for their safety. In the past month, two Filipinos were hurt in separate incidents due to ongoing violence in the country.

Read: Mandatory repatriation for Filipinos in Libya

Read: Filipinos urged to leave Libya as fighting increases