Fourth batch of Filipinos arrive from Israel
MANILA, Philippines — Around 60 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Israel were repatriated on Monday — the fourth batch of Filipinos to have returned since Hamas militants attacked Southern Israel in early October.
Of the 60, most or 32 OFWs worked in the hotel industry while 28 were caregivers, according to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). This brings the total number of Filipino returnees from Israel to 119.
In a press briefing, DMW Officer-in-Charge Hans Cacdac said that 250 more Filipinos in Israel have requested repatriation, but this could still go up in the coming weeks. At least 130 applications are already being processed, Cacdac added.
Meanwhile, 124 Filipinos in Lebanon have also requested to return to the Philippines after the Department of Foreign Affairs raised Alert Level 3 in the area after escalating border tensions sparked between Israeli forces and Hezbollah following the former’s continued launch of airstrikes on Gaza.
Foreign Undersecretary Jose De Vega said during the same press briefing that around 57 Filipinos remain at the Rafah border crossing near Egypt -- the only exit point and humanitarian corridor for civilians looking to flee Israel’s continued bombing of Gaza.
De Vega also said that the Philippines has gotten in touch with about 115 Filipinos in Gaza who are all uninjured, but stressed that currently "there's no 100% safe place in Gaza.”
There are, however, nine Filipino nationals who chose to remain in Gaza City, the central target of Israeli airstrikes, De Vega said.
The nine include three who “definitely wanted to remain there, including a nun from the Missionaries of Charity,” while six others went back due to “lack of space in the quarters they were staying,” De Vega added.
The Philippines has officially tallied four Filipinos killed in the conflict between Israel and Palestine — a death toll that made the country’s ambassador to the United Nations abstain from voting in favor of a call for a truce.