Filtered By: Pinoyabroad
Pinoy Abroad

Philippines urges Israel to prioritize Pinoys in crossing Rafah

The Philippines is asking Israel to make Filipinos among the first to flee Gaza after it opened its border in Rafah, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said on Wednesday.

De Vega said Israel is now prioritizing members of international organizations and two Filipino physicians with Doctors without Borders are among those who have been chosen to already exit Gaza and cross to Egypt.

"We are engaging with Israel to prioritize Filipinos among nationalities to be first allowed exit. Right now, they are prioritizing members of international organizations," De Vega said.

De Vega said Israel would first allow the persons to exit Gaza and proceed to the Egypt border where they would be processed by Egyptians for entry.

"The two Filipino doctors working with Doctors without Borders - an international humanitarian organization- are among the selected Foreign nationals who have been allowed to exit Gaza and cross to Egypt. But this is just the initial list," De Vega said.

"The crossing should happen any time now," he added. 

The Filipino doctors are Dr. Darwin dela Cruz and Dr. Regidor Esguerra.

De Vega said all 136 Filipinos in Gaza have been accounted for "after we initially lost contact with them last Friday."

"Telecommunications are back. So far no injured," De Vega said.

"And the six who originally returned to Gaza City have left and are now actually at Rafah Crossing just waiting to cross when signal is given," he added.

The Rafah border crossing on Wednesday opened for the safe evacuation of critically injured Palestinians, and several foreign nationals stranded in the Gaza Strip.

According to Raffy Tima’s “24 Oras” report Wednesday, the first group of evacuees included injured civilians and some foreign passport holders including those working in the United Nations and other international organizations.

The Philippine Embassy in Cairo is preparing for the possible announcement that the border will be opened for the safe evacuation of Filipinos.

At least 136 Filipinos were in the enclave including Dianna (not her real name) who previously said some Filipinos wanted to return to Gaza City.

“Sabi nila gusto na naming bumalik sa Gaza. Kasi syempre po mahirap din po yung nakikitira e, wala po silang, hindi po sila makalabas kasi nahihiya po sila kasi hindi po nila bahayPero kahit gusto nila bumalik sa Gaza, wala pong nago-offer na makabalik,”  said Diana.

(They said they want to return to Gaza. It’s hard to live in other people’s houses. However, no one was offering to get them back to the city.)

Meanwhile, photos and videos Dianna shared with GMA Integrated News showed Filipinos waiting on the Gaza side of the border for their passage.

Individuals whose names were listed by the Gaza borders and crossing authority will be allowed to pass.

However, Dianna’s name was still not included.

The opening of the vital border came three weeks after the Hamas militants launched its bloody attack on October 7, which claimed the lives of 1,400 people.

At least 8,525 Palestinians, including 3,542 children, were killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza, according to a Reuters report.

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden and King Abdullah of Jordan met to discuss the continuous assistance for civilians trapped in Gaza.

The White House said 66 trucks with humanitarian aid passed through the border in the past 24 hours. —with a report from Sundy Locus/NB, GMA Integrated News