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Philippines keeps ban on worker deployment to Israel despite truce

A PHILIPPINE ban on worker deployment to Israel stands despite a ceasefire between the Middle Eastern country and Hamas, according to the Labor department.

Local authorities would keep watching the geopolitical situation in Israel and Gaza before sending more workers, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III told an online news briefing on Wednesday.

“If the situation gets better, let us start processing,” he said.

The agency may start deploying Filipino workers to Israel starting next month, Mr. Bello said. About 400 workers were supposed to be deployed to Israel this month.

“Give it another two to three weeks,” he said, adding that the government would like to see if Israel’s ceasefire deal with Palestinians would be followed.

Israel and Hamas both claimed victory last week after they ended 11 days of fighting where more than 200 people died and caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported.

Humanitarian officials said the damage to Gaza would take years to rebuild, according to the news wire.

Palestinian officials put the rebuilding costs at tens of millions of dollars, while economists said the fighting could curb Israel’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters said.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that seeks to destroy Israel, needs to rebuild a territory that is already suffering from poverty, widespread job loss and a raging coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Bello said the situation seems to have improved after the ceasefire.

The Labor department imposed the deployment ban last week, which the presidential palace backed. No Filipino death had been reported, he added. — Gillian M. Cortez

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