Home International PBBM – Israel vows to help Filipinos exit from Gaza

PBBM – Israel vows to help Filipinos exit from Gaza

MANILA – Israel has promised to help Filipinos in Gaza Strip exit through the Rafah crossing point either by Friday or Saturday to find safer ground in Egypt, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Friday.

The commitment was made after Philippine Ambassador to Israel Pedro Laylo Jr. met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Thursday, Marcos said in a press conference at Malacañan Palace in Manila.

“So, may pangako sila sa atin na maipapalabas na ang mga Pinoy. Ang mga Pilipino, maipapalabas na (So, they have a promise to us that the Filipinos will be allowed to leave) by today or tomorrow. That is what they promised us. Saturday daw (They said it would be Saturday), at the latest,” he said.

“So, that is the latest news that I received today, early this morning from our Secretary of the DFA. And sana naman matotoo na para mailabas na natin lahat ng gustong lumabas (I hope it will happen soon so we will be able to bring out those who want to exit) and bring them back home to safety,” he added.

Marcos said the Philippine Embassy in Cairo is ready to assist Filipinos who will cross the Rafah border and eventually be repatriated.

He added that the Philippine government has also offered assistance to other Southeast Asian countries whose nationals are also trapped in Gaza Strip.

“I know many people are worried about our people, our Filipino nationals in Gaza, in Israel in the middle of the war. At saka dumating ang balita sa atin na ‘yung mga nasa Gaza hindi pinapalabas pa sa Rafah crossing. And nagtataka ang iba bakit nga hindi (And we received news that those in Gaza are still not being allowed to exit through the Rafah crossing. And others are wondering why not). Well, it is unfortunately completely out of our hands. We have no control over this. It is between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Marcos said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said there are still 134 Filipinos in Gaza Strip, 115 of whom are still waiting for a signal to cross the border.

Marcos noted that there are still Filipinos, especially those married to Palestinians, who are undecided about whether to exit Gaza.

“There is also a complication because some of the Filipino nationals, mga babae na may napangasawa na na Palestinian. Hindi pinapalabas ‘yung Palestinian (there are Filipino women who are married to Palestinians. Palestinians are not allowed to leave),” he said.

“So, many of them are undecided kung gusto nilang umalis o hindi dahil siyempre, ayaw naman nilang iwanan ang asawa nila, ayaw nilang iwanan ‘yung kanilang anak (if they want to exit or not. They do not want to leave their spouses and children),” Marcos added.

Meanwhile, six overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Lebanon arrived in the country Friday, the second batch of repatriates to escape the escalating tension between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

A total of 10 OFWs have been repatriated by the Philippine government from Lebanon so far, after the first batch composed of four individuals returned last Oct. 28.

DMW officer-in-charge Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac welcomed the returning OFWs who arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 via Emirates Airways flight EK336.

“The six were led to the Bureau of Quarantine station for initial physical and medical check-up,” DMW spokesperson Toby Nebrida said.

In an earlier interview, Cacdac said that 124 OFWs in Lebanon have requested to be repatriated to the country amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah near the Lebanon border.

There are about 3,000 Filipinos living in southern Lebanon according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

On Oct. 21, DFA raised the Crisis Alert Level 3 in Lebanon, urging Filipinos to leave the area. (PNA)