2 Filipinos hurt in Israel-Hamas conflict: diplomat

Two Filipinos are confirmed hurt in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas group that has killed scores since the unprecedented attack last Saturday. In a television interview Monday, Philippine Embassy in Israel Deputy Chief of Mission Anthony Mandap said a Filipino identified as Joey Pagsulingan was 'accidentally' shot while being rescued by the Israel Defense Forces at a shelter in Be'ersheva. The Filipino sustained 'moderate injuries' and is now under treatment at a hospital. Another Filipino, identified as Monica Biboso, was taken to a hospital after the house she was staying in with her employer was 'burned down by the attackers'. 'She and her employer suffocated but were rushed to the hospital on time. They recovered and are now out of the hospital,' Mandap said. 'Those are the confirmed cases of injuries, there could be more so we are still investigating this." Mandap said the victims consented to give their names. Both have been visited by the Philippine Labor Attaché and Welfare Officer based in Israel and were provided assistance and essential supplies. As of 3:40 p.m. on Oct. 9, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said 20 out of 26 distressed Filipinos in the country have been rescued and transferred to safer areas. Kidnapping reports Mandap, meanwhile, said the embassy has received reports of Filipinos allegedly kidnapped by Hamas but has yet to confirm the veracity of the information. The embassy spoke to the wife of one of the supposed hostages, who said she recognized her husband in one of the videos circulating on social media showing a man being held by gunmen, most likely brought to Gaza. Mandap said the embassy is still working to ascertain whether this is a case of abduction. 'She confirms that it was her husband that was in the video but we don't want to leave it at that because we want to be certain before we make any categorical pronouncement. The way she observes the video she believes it was her husband,' he said. The man is one of the six Filipinos still missing, who cannot be contacted via their mobile number and social media accounts. 'The embassy is working non-stop with Israeli security authorities and community contacts to ascertain their condition. We continue to await feedback from them,' DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said. There are over 30,000 Filipinos residing and working in Israel based on the latest DFA data. Deputy Majority Leader and Iloilo First District Rep. Janette Garin said the government may use the contingency funds to assist the affected Filipinos in Israel for their possible repatriation and to create jobs for them. 'The government must come up with economic plans to cushion their abrupt termination of work," she said. In a later development, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Arnell Ignacio, during the Bagong Pilipinas forum, said Pagsulingan is now recovering at Ichilov Hospital. However, five other Filipinos are unaccounted for, namely Grace Cabrera, Shelly Murillo, Norilyn Babadilla and Gallenir Leandro Pacheco. Ignacio also denied earlier reports that some agriculture students were abducted as he appealed to the public to refrain from sharing unverified reports. 'Itong na-verify namin, hindi po totoo iyan, iyong tungkol dito sa mga agri students (We have verified this, that is not true, the one on the agri students),' he said, adding that 'kaya nga po kami ay nanawagan, dalawang bagay ano, kasi each time they transmit, transmit these information, pictures kung saan-saan, maaari kasing malagay sa peligro lalo ang kanilang sitwasyon because ang technology diyan, kayang-kaya tayong ma-trace (we are appealing, there are two things. Each time they transmit, information, pictures, wherever, these may put them in danger, because they can be traced through the use of technology).'

Source: Philippines News Agency