MANILA, Philippines - Three families with Filipina mothers in Gaza have expressed intention to be repatriated, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the Philippine embassy in Tel Aviv is tasked to move the three families composed of 11 individuals, while the embassy in Amman will receive them and facilitate transit before their return to the Philippines.
When asked how soon the three families can be repatriated, Jose said they should be able to exit Gaza first, then transiting via Israel to Jordan. They would be extracted by the United Nations from Gaza.
“So a lot will depend on whether or not they will be allowed to enter Israel in the first place before they can transit to Jordan then from Jordan to the Philippines,” Jose added.
He also said that “as far as travel documents are concerned, the Filipinos should be allowed because they are holding Philippine passports.”
The embassy has a list of Filipinos in Gaza who are either married to Palestinians or children of Filipinas married to Palestinian husbands and holding Philippine passports.
Although the embassy has gotten in touch with around 100 Filipinos, Jose said most of them have opted to stay in Gaza because of family considerations.
According to the DFA, there are about 109 Filipinos in Gaza, 116 in the West Bank, and some 34,000 Filipinos all over Israel.
The DFA raised Alert Level 3 (Voluntary Repatriation) in the Gaza Strip, citing growing threats to security posed by the Israel-Hamas conflict. Alert Level 1 (Precautionary Phase) remains raised in the West Bank and in southern and central Israel.
Jose said the Philippine embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv are actively monitoring the condition of Filipinos in Gaza and the West Bank and “so far we have not received reports of any Filipinos harmed or killed as a result of the conflict in those areas.”
DOLE: Jobs available for returning workers
The government also gave assurance yesterday that new overseas and local jobs are available for the hundreds of Filipino workers returning from crisis-stricken countries.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is providing employment facilitation services for those who wish to seek re-employment abroad or in the country.
“Overseas employment facilitation is just one of the services POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) will offer to repatriates from Libya and other crisis-stricken OFW destinations, such as Iraq and Kurdistan, Syria, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who are looking for alternative employment,” she said.
POEA’s Manpower Registry Division will provide the information on approved job orders, countries of destination, licensed recruitment agencies, job position and salaries so Filipino workers can compare and choose which countries they would like to work in.
“OFW-repatriates can also visit the POEA website www.poea.gov.ph. The website’s job search engine displays these information, including what countries offer the same or related job that a repatriate previously held and its corresponding salary and other benefits,” Baldoz added.
Baldoz said returning workers may also look for jobs at the Phil-JobNet, the government’s official job search and matching portal which has 324 vacancies at this time.
The POEA is also setting up a desk at its building to provide re-employment facilitation services to repatriates. Baldoz said repatriates with money claims and other legal problems would be attended to by the Legal Assistance Division under the Anti-Illegal Recruitment branch. – With Mayen Jaymalin