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39 Filipinos remain in Gaza, DFA official says

39 Filipinos remain in Gaza, DFA official says

Thirty-nine Filipinos are still in Gaza, a Department of Foreign Affairs official said on Saturday.

"May 39 pa na mga Pilipino na nasa Gaza... 'Yung iba, ayaw umalis doon... 'Yung iba naman, aalis lang kung kasama ang kanilang misis o mister na Palestino," DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(There are 39 Filipinos still in Gaza... Some of them do not want to leave... Others will only leave if their Palestinian wife or husband will be allowed to leave with them.)

The Philippines raised Alert Level 4 in Gaza City in mid-October. This means evacuation for Filipinos there is mandatory.

Two Filipino doctors were the first to exit Gaza and enter Egypt via Rafah Crossing amid the war between Israeli forces and the militant group Hamas.

They were followed by 40 Filipinos on Wednesday, and 56 more on Friday.

"Hindi araw-araw bukas 'yung border. Next time na may opportunity, please cross," De Vega said.

(The border is not open every day. Next time there is an opportunity, please cross [the border].)

The DFA official also said some of the Palestinian spouses of Filipinos in Gaza were not given clearance to exit.

"Kaya tuloy 39 pa 'yung naiwan sa Gaza," he added.

(That is why there are still 39 [Filipinos] left in Gaza.)

There were a total of 137 Filipinos in Gaza when the war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas started.

De Vega also said there were instances of Palestinians being allowed to exit Gaza but not given entry permit by Egypt.

"Kunyari nakalusot sa Palestinian side, pagdating sa Egypt, mayroon pang security check doon. Pero 'yung iba, hindi approved ng Egypt [kahit] nakapasa na sa Israel," he said.

(For instance, if someone has been cleared by the Palestinian side, when he arrives in Egypt, he has to undergo security check again. Some are not approved even if already given clearance by Israel.)

Those not allowed entry to Egypt have no choice but go back to Gaza, de Vega said.

Israel launched air strikes against Gaza after Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, and taking more than 200 hostages. —KG, GMA Integrated News