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10 Filipinos in Gaza stay out of reach after network disruption — DFA

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expressed concern over the plight of ten Filipinos in the Gaza Strip who have remained out of contact since Friday when phone and internet networks went down during the Israeli military's offensive in the area.

In an interview with GMA's “Balita Ko”, DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said that they have reconnected with 126 out of the 136 Filipinos in Gaza, but the ten others are still unreachable since the communication blackout began.

De Vega said that the 126 Filipinos they have made contact with are safe and unharmed. However, they are running low on food and water, suggesting the need to move them to the Rafah border for more supplies.

The Rafah border is the only exit point and humanitarian corridor for civilians looking to flee Israel’s continued bombing of Gaza. 

“Hindi naman sila nagugutom pero alam nilang kapag tumagal pa ‘to eh at saka hindi dumami ang papasok na humanitarian aid, ay baka magsimula nang magkaroon ng severe lack of water and food (They are not starving, but if this continues and aid does not increase, they could face a severe shortage of food and water),” the DFA official said.

De Vega said that 57 Filipinos are near the Rafah border and ready to cross when allowed. However, many Filipinos in Gaza are hesitant to leave, particularly those married to Palestinians who want to stay with their families. 

“Marami talagang hindi tatawid kasi ang sinasabi ng mga Filipina na may asawang Palestinians, hindi sila tatawid kung hindi kasama ang asawa nila. Wala pang garentiya ang Egypt na tatanggap sila ng Palestinian nationals. Gusto nila ang mga sugatan lang,” he said.

(Several Filipinas married to Palestinians hesitate to cross the border, as they insist on being accompanied by their husbands. Egypt has not yet provided a guarantee for accepting Palestinian nationals since their current focus is primarily on admitting those who are injured.)

Internet access and the phone network in Gaza were completely cut off last Friday, following a series of events that began with an armed attack by Hamas militants. 

On Sunday, Netblocks, a global network monitoring organization, reported the