THE REPATRIATION of Filipinos in Israel is not immediately possible with the continuing exchange of Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian militant rockets, according to the head of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
But coordination and preparations for bringing the Philippine citizens home are ongoing should the Gaza-Israel conflict further escalates, said OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac in a briefing on Monday.
“Yan ang pinag-hahandaan natin in case lumala ang situation. Sa alam ko sarado pa ang international airports (That is what we are preparing for in case the conflict worsens. From what I know, their international airports are still closed),” he said.
The Israeli Embassy in Manila said last week that the Ben Gurion Airport, the main international airport in Israel, has temporarily stopped all inbound and outbound flights.
Mr. Cacdac said most Filipinos in Israel are for now safe indoors with their employers, but some asked for assistance to be brought to safety.
“Ang mga humingi ng tulong ay hindi ganun kadami…in general hindi po widespread ang evacuation (Those who asked for help were not that many… in general there is no widespread evacuation),” he said.
There have been no reported injuries or deaths among Filipinos.
There are more than 30,000 Filipinos in Israel, mostly of workers, some students, and diplomats, according to data from the Israel Embassy. — Gillian M. Cortez