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DFA says Philippines recognizes Israel’s right to self-defense

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has reiterated that it recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself.

“We are not saying we no longer recognize or condemn the brutal attacks on citizens,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said in a press briefing yesterday.

Four Filipinos were killed while two remain unnaccounted for after Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

The Philippines condemned the killings and all other acts of terrorism and violence as a result of the attack.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired thousands of indiscriminate rockets, prompting intensive retaliation by the Israeli Defense Forces and a complete siege of the Gaza Strip.

The international community condemned the attacks by Hamas on Israeli towns.

Israel said it has the full right to respond and protect itself.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) thanked Israel for offering to help repatriate Filipinos trapped in Gaza.

The DFA said there are still three Filipinos in Gaza including a nun who opted to stay on her own volition.

“The Philippine Embassy confirmed that there are still three Filipinos in Gaza. One is a nun. We respect her decision to remain. Next is a father and child who returned to the hospital,” De Vega said.

He said an arrangement for the safe passage of foreign nationals including 136 Filipinos across the Rafah border was ongoing.

“We hope there will be a decision to allow them to cross. It’s a positive step that humanitarian aid is getting in,” he added.

The embassy has submitted to the Egyptian foreign ministry the names of Filipinos and their Palestinian spouses, who will accompany their wives to Egypt for repatriation in the Philippines.

“We are not going to be actively initiating that they (Palestinian spouses of Filipino nationals) be allowed to leave. These are spouses and the intention is for them to go to the Philippines to accompany their wives,” De Vega said.

“But as Palestinian nationals it is the Palestinian authorities who should work for their evacuation outside Gaza,” he said.

Applications for Philippine visa will be processed once the Palestinian spouses will be allowed to cross the border.

“We’re not asking the government of Egypt