No evacuation yet for Pinoys in Gaza

by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2012 07:41 PM | Updated as of Nov 20 2012 03:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government has no plans yet to bring home Filipinos in Gaza Strip, a Palace official said Monday.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Benigno Aquino is concerned about the safety of Filipinos in Gaza.

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has sent teams to Gaza to monitor the safety of Filipinos.

So far, he said, there is no recommendation yet to evacuate the Filipinos there.

"Ang concern po ni Pangulong Aquino is for the safety of the Filipinos in the Gaza strip, also in Israel. So that's the reason why we're sending-the DFA is sending teams to monitor the safety of the Filipinos there," Lacierda said.

The DFA is sending 2 rapid-response teams for the possible evacuation of about 100 Filipinos in Gaza.

DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said no Filipino casualties have been reported so far from the conflict.

Hernandez said Filipinos in Gaza are really at risk because they are in the area where the exchange of fire occurs.

“We have been informed by the Filipino families there that of course they are apprehensive about their situation and condition, but what they're doing is that they're staying in their houses and also in the bunkers,” he said

He added that the embassies in Tel Aviv and in Cairo are in constant communication with the families there.

Gaza health officials estimate at least 72 have been killed in the fighting since last week. - with a report from ANC