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46 Filipinos in Gaza given approval to cross Rafah; Palestinian spouses of Filipinos now allowed to leave Gaza
46 Filipinos in Gaza given approval to cross Rafah; Palestinian spouses of Filipinos now allowed to leave Gaza
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46 Filipinos in Gaza given approval to cross Rafah; Palestinian spouses of Filipinos now allowed to leave Gaza
by Karen Ow-Yong07 November 2023
The fourth batch of OFW returnees from Israel safely arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in Pasay City last October 30, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Department of Migrant Workers)

MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirms that 46 Filipinos in Gaza are now given approval to cross the Rafah border Tuesday and is confident that they will be able to reach Egypt by evening (local time).

In a press briefing by the DFA, Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega said that the 46 are the combined number of the second batch and the first batch scheduled to leave Gaza last Sunday but was delayed due to attacks from the Hamas.

“We are aware of the problems that are occurring in the Rafah crossing. There have been three straight days, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, that there had been no crossings because of the internal situation. That meant that our initial crossing for the 46 who wanted to evacuate as soon as possible had to be delayed,” De Vega explained.

De Vega is also confident that the processing for the new batch of repatriates will be faster, which means that by evening (local time) they will be in Cairo. Once in the capital city of Egypt, they will be given accommodations and hopefully after a few days, their transit visa will be released and they can fly home to the Philippines.

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Meanwhile, De Vega also confirms that the Israeli government has given the go signal “in principle” for Palestinian spouses of Filipino nationals to leave Gaza.

Because of this, De Vega is hopeful that the seven out of the 46 Filipinos, who were reportedly “hesitant” to leave will be convinced to cross and be repatriated. One such case is that of a family that would rather stay in Egypt because that is where the Palestinian husband is residing.

“Our embassy is still convincing the seven to cross because it might affect our future listings for future repatriations for the other Filipinos,” De Vega said.

For now, the DFA is waiting for the “written confirmation” or “written approval” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel and that the DFA has provided a separate list of names of the Filipino nationals who are waiting to cross the border, including their Palestinian spouses.

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According to data from the DFA, the updated number of Filipinos still in Gaza are 135 from the previous 134, after it was discovered that a Filipino household worker that came to Gaza with her employer from Kuwait were stranded when the war broke out and have been trapped in the area since.

The household worker and five other Filipino nationals have signified their desire to be repatriated while 19 Filipinos were determined to remain in Gaza, including a Filipina nun.

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