DFA lifts OFW travel ban to Gaza


09:41 AM December 15th, 2012

By: Jerome Aning, December 15th, 2012 09:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has lifted travel alerts over the Gaza Strip and southern and central Israel, paving the way for the resumption of the deployment of Filipino workers and tourist trips there.

“In view of improved security conditions in Israel and Gaza as a result of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the DFA Travel Advisory issued on Nov. 23, 2012, which advised Filipinos to defer travel to Gaza and central and southern Israel in view of the Israel-Hamas conflict, is now lifted,” the DFA said.

The department said Alert Level 2 (Restriction Phase) for central and southern Israel and Alert Level 4 (Evacuation/Mandatory Repatriation) for Gaza raised on Nov. 20 were likewise lifted.

The Israeli embassy in Manila, in a brief statement, welcomed the DFA’s decision.

Manila imposed the travel ban on Israel and Gaza last month after the outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules over the Gaza Strip.

About 41,000 Filipinos work in Israel, many as caregivers, and the ban had raised fears that they would not be allowed to return if they left.

As fighting ceased, the Israeli embassy in Manila urged the Philippines to lift the ban but the DFA initially balked, saying the situation remained “volatile.”  With a report from AFP

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