2 Filipinos confirmed dead in Israel-Gaza war | Global News

2 Filipinos confirmed dead in Israel-Gaza war

05:30 AM October 12, 2023

Buildings are reduced to rubble after Israeli airstrikes in the Jabalia camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City, in this photo taken Oct. 11, 2023.

RAVAGED | Buildings are reduced to rubble after Israeli airstrikes in the Jabalia camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City, in this photo taken Oct. 11, 2023. (Photo from Agence France-Presse)

MANILA, Philippines — The war in Israel has claimed the lives of two Filipinos — a 42-year-old man from Pampanga who was captured by Hamas militants and a 33-year-old woman from Pangasinan who died with her employer — the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv said on Wednesday.

Philippine officials at press time are also trying to confirm through DNA testing the possibility of a third Filipino fatality, according to Vice Consul Patricia Narajos.


Labor attaché Rodolfo Gabasan said the two Filipinos were killed in a kibbutz, or an Israeli community, during surprise coordinated attacks over the weekend by the Palestinian militant group near the Gaza Strip that set off violence and bloodshed in the Jewish-majority country.


The circumstances behind the death of the male victim were not clear “but he was among those captured by the Hamas,” Gabasan told Malacañang reporters during an online briefing on Wednesday.

As for the female victim, she and her employer were “gunned down” as the militants were forcing open their door, the official said.

The woman had been working as a caregiver in Israel for six years, and had recently married her husband, who is in the Philippines, Narajos said.

Anthony Mandap, deputy chief of mission and consul general, said the exact details of the two Filipinos’ deaths were still under investigation.

But he disclosed to the Inquirer that the bodies had been discovered in the Gaza Envelope, or populated areas in Israel within seven kilometers of the Gaza border.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday mourned the death of the two Filipinos as he denounced the escalation of hostilities between Palestinian and Israeli forces.


“My heart is heavy upon hearing confirmation of the deaths of two Filipinos in Israel. The Philippines condemns these killings and stands firmly against the ongoing terror and violence,” the president said in a statement.

Marcos gave his assurance that the government would give aid to the 30,000 Filipinos in Israel and the 137 living in the Gaza Strip, the area hardest hit by the war.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said a total of 70 Filipinos in Gaza were seeking repatriation.

But Philippine officials are still trying to get them out as a blockade had been placed by Israeli forces in Gaza, Foreign Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega told the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs.

“The number of those who want to be repatriated keeps increasing. The problem is that Gaza is under a blockade [and] there is no way in or out,” he said.

The provincial governments of Pangasinan and Pampanga said they were prepared to assist the families of the two Filipinos.

Dhobie de Guzman, Pangasinan public information officer, said the Public Employment Service Office had coordinated with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to obtain details about the female victim.

“We’re still getting more updates,” he told the Inquirer in an online chat message, adding that the provincial government would readily assist the victim’s family.

In a separate interview via online call, Mamerto Malanum, president of the Pangasinan Community in Israel, said he could not immediately release information about the victim “until the family has been formally informed.”

But Malanum said a male caregiver from San Carlos City was wounded when he was shot during an attack on a bomb shelter.

In Pampanga, Gov. Dennis Pineda said the provincial government would provide help “based on what the victim’s family will request.”

On Wednesday, Marcos conveyed his personal condolences and offered additional assistance to the two victims’ families.

Philippine Ambassador to Israel Junie Laylo said the embassy would not disclose the identities of the deceased “in line with the families’ request for privacy at this very difficult time.”

3 unaccounted for

On Wednesday afternoon, Marcos met in Malacañang with Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss, who briefed him on the latest developments in the conflict in Israel.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the president expressed concern for the three Filipinos who remained unaccounted for in Israel.

Fluss, according to the PCO, assured the President that Israel was doing all it could to ensure the safety of Filipinos.

“The President assured Ambassador Fluss that the Philippines will always stand with Israel in this war against the inhuman terrorist attacks by Hamas,” the PCO said.

Marcos also thanked Israel, particularly the Israel Defense Forces, for rescuing over 20 Filipinos and bringing them to safety.

On Wednesday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it was ready to carry out evacuation operations for Filipinos in Israel, if necessary.

At a Palace briefing, AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said the military had already prepared a plan, including the possible deployment of at least two Philippine Air Force transport aircraft — a C-130 and a C-295.

“I assure everybody that, with the guidance of our President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Armed Forces of the Philippines is prepared to execute evacuation operations should there be any further attack,” Aguilar said.

The AFP has identified Adana Şakirpaşa Airport in Turkey as a “temporary safe haven” in case hostilities escalate.

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“From there, we will be shuttling Filipinos who are affected by the conflict,” Aguilar said.

TAGS: Department of Foreign Affairs, Filipino repatriation, Filipinos in Israel, Israel-Gaza war

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