Filipino victims of Israel-Hamas war to get life stipends
MANILA, Philippines — Caregivers Noralin Babadilla and Gelienor Pacheco, as well as the families of the four Filipinos who died during the Oct. 7 Hamas surprise attack on Israel, will get the same assistance the Israeli government gives to all victims of terrorism.
Israel Ambassador Ilan Fluss said Babadilla, Pacheco, and the families of Angelyn Aguirre, Loreta Alacre, Grace Cabrera, and Paul Castelvi will receive monthly stipends worth at least P100,000 from the Israeli government.
Fluss said the amount would depend on whether the survivors are parents or spouses, but Jerusalem will also consider the number of children.
“I could tell you this is more than P100,000 a month, and that’s the baseline—for life,” Fluss said, adding, “Israeli law understands that here, the family has to continue to survive, and this is why we need to continue to assist.”
Aguirre, Alacre, Cabrera, and Castelvi were killed on the day Hamas terrorists staged surprise attacks on Israeli communities along the Israel-Palestine border.
Pacheco was one of two Filipinos taken hostage by Hamas terrorists, but he was released last week in the first prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel after 49 days in captivity.
Days in captivity
Babadilla, the other hostage, was released on Tuesday following an extension of the ceasefire brokered by Qatar and the United States, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Wednesday. Babadilla’s release ended her 53 days in captivity.
Babadilla was born in Batangas province and worked in Israel and eventually became a dual citizen after marrying Gideon Babani, who was killed during the Hamas attack.
According to a report by the Times of Israel, Babadilla traveled to Kibbutz Nirim, one of the hardest hit areas by Hamas, on Oct. 6 to visit friends and celebrate the kibbutz’s 70th anniversary.
After spending the night in the area, Babadilla contacted her youngest brother, Exo, on the morning of the attack and told him she might not get back home on the same day, the report read.
Babadilla was eventually taken hostage on the morning of the attack, while Babani was killed.
She was released nearly two months after this and is currently undergoing medical evaluations at the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel, the Israel Embassy said in a statement that expressed “great relief” at her release.
Support and assistance
“Filipino caregivers Ms. Babadilla and Mr. Pacheco were both recently released from captivity by Hamas. They will receive support from the Israeli government as given to all victims of terror,” the embassy statement read.
“All Filipino nationals have been accounted for. The Israeli government is committed and will do whatever is needed to bring them back home,” the legation added.
“We extend our sincere thanks to the State of Israel for agreeing to the conditions, which facilitated the release of more hostages, including Ms. Babadilla, and for all the assistance they have provided our nationals in Israel,” the DFA said.
On Wednesday, the Department of Migrant Workers also took Babadilla’s release with “sheer joy,” assuring her that they would provide her with all the necessary post-arrival support and assistance.