All Pinoys in Gaza safe, says envoy
ALL Filipinos in Gaza Strip are safe and accounted for as they await repatriation to Manila amid the intensifying war between Israel and Hamas, the Iran-backed group that holds power in the territory.
Philippine Ambassador to Jordan Wilfredo Santos said majority of the 136 Filipinos in Gaza are waiting for the opening of the Rafah border crossing that would enable them to leave the territory and proceed to Egypt before they can be repatriated to Manila.
Earlier, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo Jose de Vega said the Filipinos are ready to be repatriated and are just waiting for the opening of the Rafah border crossing, the main route in and out of Gaza Strip that is not controlled by Israel.
De Vega expressed confidence the border crossing will be reopened to allow Filipinos and other foreign nationals to exit from Gaza.
The border was opened briefly and only to allow aid to be delivered to Gaza. The first was last Saturday, allowing a convoy of only 20 trucks. A third convoy of trucks carrying water, food and medicine entered Gaza Strip on Monday.
The Philippine Embassy in Jordan is working with its counterpart in Egypt for the safe evacuation of the Filipinos in Gaza, including those married to Palestinians.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has placed Gaza under Alert Level 4, the highest in its four-tiered alert level system, calling for the mandatory evacuation of Filipinos.
Ambassador Santos acknowledged that not all Filipinos in Gaza have decided to be repatriated despite repeated appeals from the Philippine government. He said some Filipinos do not want to leave their Palestinian spouses, but the majority of the Filipinos in Gaza have said they want to leave and cross the border to Egypt.
Santos said since the first humanitarian convoy from Egypt arrived in the besieged territory over the weekend, food, water and electricity are available but on a limited scale.
PINOY IN ISRAEL
As hostilities worsen in Israel, more Filipinos working there have sought repatriation, according to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
“We have, more or less, 120 requests for repatriation. These are those whom we checked twice or thrice to make sure that they want to