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Pinoy Abroad

DFA calls for mandatory repatriation in Gaza as Alert Level 4 raised

Gaza refugee camp hit by israeli air strike

The Philippines has raised Alert Level 4 in Gaza City, meaning evacuation for Filipinos there is now mandatory, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Sunday.

With this, the DFA called for Filipinos to leave Gaza and vowed to assist them in crossing Egypt.

There are 131 Filipinos in Gaza, and at least 78 of them are now situated near the Rafah border crossing near Egypt.

"All the rest have left northern Gaza or Gaza City, which is expected to be the main site for hostilities," the agency said.

DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said at a press conference that raising the alert level to 4 was done in preparation for the possible ground offensive of Israeli forces against the Hamas militants in Gaza, according to a Super Radyo dzBB report of Luisito Santos.

In a message on Sunday night, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" MArcos Jr. also called for the evacuation of Filipinos.

"We are committed to making every possible effort to bring our kababayans out of harm's way and reunite them with their families back home. We will continue to provide updates on the situation," he said.

Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years on October 7, firing rockets and deploying gunmen to several towns, prompting the Israeli government to declare a state of war.

Israel then launched retaliatory strikes on Gaza, with the death toll on both sides having exceeded a thousand and still continuing to rise.

Alert Level 4 is raised when there is a large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack. Under this alert level, the national government undertakes mandatory evacuation procedures.

DFA earlier raised Alert Level 3 on Thursday, which means voluntary repatriation.

Three Filipinos were confirmed killed in the war between Israel and Hamas, while three others remain missing.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Wednesday that the Philippines stands with Israel following the deadly attacks by Hamas.

The DFA also said the Philippine government continues to work on the repatriation and will provide updates on developments. —with Sherylin Untalan/KG/BM, GMA Integrated News