The 39 Filipinos who still remain in war-torn Gaza are expected to cross the Rafah border to Egypt “as soon as possible,” Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) officer-in-charge Hans Leo Cacdac said Sunday.
Cacdac, citing data from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said that 71.5% or 98 out of the 137 Filipinos based in Gaza were already evacuated to Egypt, and some of them were already repatriated back to the Philippines.
“Patuloy pa [ang pagtawid] at sinasabi na ‘yung natitirang 39 ay makakatawid na rin as soon as possible,” he said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.
(The crossing [from Gaza to Egypt] continues, and they said that the remaining 39 Filipinos will also be able to cross as soon as possible.)
Gaza's border authority announced on Saturday that the Rafah land crossing into Egypt would reopen on Sunday for foreign passport holders and dependents, according to a Reuters report.
It will start operating at 9 a.m. local time or around 3 p.m. in the Philippines, for foreigners and medical evacuees, Egyptian sources said.
The first batch of Filipinos repatriated from Gaza arrived in the Philippines on Friday. The group was composed of 34 Filipinos and one Palestinian national.
The Philippines raised Alert Level 4 in Gaza City in mid-October after war broke out between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas based in Gaza. Alert Level 4 means evacuation for Filipinos there is mandatory.
Two Filipino doctors who are volunteers for Doctors Without Borders were the first to exit Gaza and enter Egypt via Rafah Crossing.