Filipinos fleeing Gaza will be given top priority – Egypt

Inquirer.net October 20,2023 - 12:54 PM

Filipinos Israel Gaza Strip

FILE PHOTO: Buildings are reduced to rubble after Israeli airstrikes in the Jabalia camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City, in this photo taken October 11, 2023. Israel declared war on Hamas on October 8 after the Islamist group’s shock cross-border assault. AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos fleeing the war-torn Gaza Strip will be given top priority once the Rafah border opens, the Egyptian government has promised.

This was according to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega on Friday.

The Rafah border crossing near Egypt is the only safe way out of the war-torn Gaza Strip, according to de Vega.

“Kinausap ko ang ambassador ng Egypt kahapon at sinabi ng kanilang pamahalaan na bibigyan ng priority ang mga Pilipinong lulusot. Pangako niya ‘yan na bibigyan tayo ng priority sa border,” said de Vega in an interview over Radyo 630.

(I spoke with the Egyptian ambassador yesterday and their government said that they will give priority to Filipinos who will pass through. That’s his promise to give us priority at the border.)

READ: Repatriating Filipinos in Gaza would be harder than those in Israel – DFA

For now, de Vega said he could not give a definite time as to when the border will be opened but it is possible “within the next 24 hours” or “any day now.”

So far, more than 90 Filipinos living in Gaza have expressed their desire to leave.

“Kung hindi man, well at least may positive news tayo na naguusap ang mga pamahalaan. Kasi kung hindi makalabas [ang foreign nationals], eh parang hindi successful ang diplomatic approach ng Presidente ng United States of America,” he added.

(If not, well at least we have positive news that the governments are talking. Because if [the foreign nationals] can’t get out, it seems like the diplomatic approach of the President of the United States of America is not successful.)

READ: DFA says 92 Filipinos in Gaza Strip now want to go back to PH

De Vega said they are expecting around 80 to 90 Filipinos to cross the Rafah border.

The Philippine government has placed Gaza under alert level 4, making evacuation mandatory for all Filipinos in the area.


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TAGS: Egypt, Filipinos, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel, Rafah border

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