MANILA – The Philippines is ready to facilitate emergency repatriation of Filipinos from Israel amid the heaviest fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippine Embassy in Israel and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are “expert” in ensuring the safety of Filipinos amid the latest escalation of violence in Gaza and Jerusalem.
“So hinahanda na po ‘yung posibleng repatriation at binibigyan na po sila ng warning na kung pupuwede po ay mag-ingat dahil dito sa mga pagiinit ng mga pangyayari diyan sa Israel at sa occupied territory (So we are preparing for Filipinos’ possible repatriation and they are given a warning to stay safe because of the escalating tensions in Israel and its occupied territory),” Roque said.
Roque said the Philippine government will go on a special mission to fetch distressed Filipinos “if need be.”
“At ang gobyerno naman po natin, kung talagang kakailanganin, siyempre po susunduin po natin ang ating mga kababayan kung talagang kinakailangan at kung talagang gusto po nila (Our government will of course fetch our fellow countrymen if need be and if they want),” he said.
A total of 29,473 Filipinos are currently working and residing in Israel.
No Filipino casualties have been reported amid the escalating exchange of air strikes and rocket fires between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.
Dozens of casualties, including children, were reported following the intense aerial exchanges between Israeli Forces and Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip since 2016.
Five were killed in Israel, and at least 35 died in Gaza, according to a report from Israeli newspaper Haarest.
The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv on Tuesday advised the Filipino community in Israel to stay vigilant and postpone or cancel travel plans to places near the border of Gaza.
The embassy also told them to avoid approaching the Israeli security forces stationed in “sensitive areas.”
Filipinos in Israel were also urged to find the nearest protected area when the need arises and take extra precautions when riding public vehicles.
In case of emergency, the embassy may be reached at +972.54.466.1188.
Affected Filipinos may also contact the Israeli authorities at 100 (Police), 101 (Ambulance or Emergency Service), 102 (Fire), 104 (Home Front Command), 106/107/108 (Municipality Call Center). Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos / PNA – northboundasia.com