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PH seeks help in finding missing Filipinos

THE Philippines has sought the help of other countries in finding two missing Filipinos or securing their release if they were indeed kidnapped by Hamas militants, a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official said.

«As to whether they are hostages, we cannot affirm that, although Israel believes that one of them, a male, is likely a hostage. They haven't shown us the evidence,» DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said.

«The wife though of the supposed hostage has said from the beginning [of the Hamas attack on Israel] that she saw her husband taken on video.»

«As to what we are doing, well, for the protection of the hostages, we won't reveal exactly what we're doing other than to confirm that we are talking to all who may be able to help us,» de Vega said.

«After all, it did produce results for these four hostages who have been released, as you know, [the] two Americans and two Israelis [who were freed recently by Hamas],» he said.

«We are not talking to Hamas, but we are talking to governments,» he added.

Meanwhile, he said three Filipinos — a father and son, and a nun — who were already evacuated to southern Gaza to cross the Rafah border to Egypt decided to return to Gaza City.

The father and son, the official said, returned to Gaza City to «check the condition of the Palestinian father-in-law of the Philippine citizen.»

«The Palestinian wife [of the Filipino], we believe, is with them. They are sheltered at a hospital, the same hospital where the father-in-law is staying for shrapnel wounds,» he said.

There are 136 Filipinos in Gaza, while there are 30,500 more in Israel who are mostly caregivers. He said there are 17,500 Filipinos in Lebanon.

«Our main concern now is the Filipinos in Gaza because they are the ones under humanitarian crisis,» he said.