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4 Filipinos remain in Gaza City: DFA

THE Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said four Filipinos out of 137 are still stuck in war-torn Gaza City despite the raising of Alert Level 4 calling for mandatory evacuation of all Filipinos there, Foreign DFA Undersecretary Eduardo Jose de Vega said yesterday.

Gaza has been subjected to aerial bombardments since the militant group Hamas launched attacks on Israel on October 7. Israel, which is expected to launch a ground invasion, has started limited ground raids in Gaza.

About 70 to 80 Filipinos in Gaza earlier sought repatriation to Manila.

“There are apparently still four Filipinos in Gaza City so that’s a concern for us,” De Vega said in a press briefing.

He said among the four are a nun and a Filipino-Palestinian father and a child.

He said most of the Filipinos have evacuated near the Rafah border crossing, waiting for the go-signal from Egyptian authorities to cross the border, while others have left Gaza City, where the major hostilities are expected, for safer grounds.

From Egypt, De Vega said, the Filipinos will be repatriated to Manila.

“The southern part is where it’s supposed to be safer but our kababayan (countrymen) themselves say they’re hearing airstrikes. It’s not as bad as the northern Gaza or Gaza City,” he said.

De Vega also said they have included the names of Palestinian spouses of Filipino nationals in the list of those intending to leave Gaza, and the DFA would leave it to Egyptian authorities the decision on whether to allow the Palestinian spouses of Filipinos to enter their country.

“We already gave the names of the Palestinian spouses and said they will accompany the Filipina wife. We will not actively ask to allow them to leave but we said these are the spouses to be with their wives,” the official said.

If they are allowed to accompany their Filipina wives, the Philippine Embassy in Cairo will help process their visas to Manila.

“They need to follow rules on foreign spouses of Filipinos,” De Vega said adding

the Palestinian spouses will also need to shoulder their own transportation fare as the DFA will only be paying for the fares of Filipinos.

De Vega also said 113 Filipinos in Lebanon have requested repatriation.