Arroyo asks Hizbullah, Israel to spare Filipinos

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Thursday appealed to "all combatant forces" in Lebanon to spare up to 30,000 Filipino workers as the first of about 200 began evacuating via Syria. "The Philippines makes a special appeal to all combatant forces to spare Filipino nationals who have no wish other than to be taken out of harm's way," Arroyo said in a statement. "We are keenly focused on our zero-casualty goal for Filipino workers in this conflict and we assure the families of the trapped overseas Filipino workers in Lebanon that we will exhaust all the available means to ensure their safety," she said.