PH gov’t: Evacuation of Filipinos in Gaza now mandatory
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is raising its crisis warning in Gaza to Alert Level 4, making the evacuation of Filipinos in the area mandatory.
“Alert Level 4 na ‘yung Gaza, kailangan umalis na ‘yung mga Pilipino,” said Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega in an interview over TeleRadyo
(Gaza is now on Alert Level 4, Filipinos must leave.)
The government said 131 Filipinos in Gaza have asked to return to the Philippines as the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated since October 7.
In a statement released through Malacañang, DFA said that 78 of them “are now situated near the Rafah border crossing near Egypt.”
De Vega confirmed in a text message to INQUIRER.net that the Filipinos have not yet entered Egypt since the Rafah border crossing is still closed.
He said that the question of whether or not Palestinian spouses of Filipino nationals can also be repatriated or allowed to leave Gaza remains the main issue.
“Ang tanong muna kung papayagan silang [Palestinian] makalikas ng Gaza,” he said.
(The first question is whether they [Palestinians] will be allowed to leave Gaza.)
“All the rest [of Filipinos] have left northern Gaza or Gaza City, which is expected to be the main site for hostilities,” DFA said.
“The Philippine government continues to work on the repatriation of our nationals and will provide updates on developments,” it added.
Furthermore, the DFA official said in the interview that eight Filipinos from Tel Aviv, Israel, will arrive in the country on October 17.
The Israeli military said Saturday, October 14, that its forces were preparing to implement a wide range of operational offensive plans as expectations grew of an imminent invasion of the Gaza Strip, a week after Hamas gunmen launched a devastating attack on Israel.
Israel earlier called on Palestinians to evacuate. The Israeli military claimed “hundreds of thousands” of Palestinians had heeded the warning and headed south. The evacuation call covers an area of 1.1 million residents or about half the territory’s population.
But Palestinians struggled Saturday to flee from areas of Gaza targeted by the Israeli military as they also grappled with worsening water and medical supply shortages.
World leaders urged concerned parties to allow humanitarian aid to Gaza.