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Saturday, December 9, 2023

More Pinoys out of Gaza Strip by weekend–PBBM

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The Israeli government has committed to allow Filipinos still trapped in the Gaza Strip to exit to Egypt during the weekend, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said .

At a news conference in Malacañang last Friday, the Chief Executive disclosed that the Foreign Minister of Israel made the commitment during his meeting with Philippine Ambassador to Israel Pedro “Junie” Laylo Jr.

“So they have made a commitment to us to allow Pinoys to exit by today or tomorrow [November 4 and 5, 2023],” Marcos said partly in Filipino.

Of the remaining 134 Filipinos in Gaza, 115 are seeking repatriation from the Philippine government.

Those who want to return home are currently trapped in the Rafah Border waiting for the authorization of Israel so they could pass to Egypt, where they will be repatriated.

“When the time comes for them to cross [Rafah], they will be brought [to Cairo] and will be repatriated,” Marcos said.

He said government efforts to bring them home was marred with “complication” since some of them are married to Palestinian nationals, who are not allowed by Israeli forces to leave Gaza.

“So, many of them are undecided if they want to leave or not because they don’t want to leave their [Palestinian] spouses and their children,” Marcos said.

The President added he also offered to help other Asean countries so they can also pull out their nationals from Gaza.

Initially two Filipino doctors, who are members of Doctors Without Borders, were able to escape Gaza after Israel allowed foreign passport holders and international aid workers to cross Rafah earlier this week.

Gaza is currently under Israeli blockade after militant Hamas forces launched their brutal attack from the said city to southern Israel last month.

The attack prompted Israel to declare war against Hamas and launch an ongoing counteroffensive in Gaza. Thousands have died from the said conflict.

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