Filipinos who returned, stayed in Gaza City ‘safe’: DFA

The six Filipinos who decided to return to Gaza City and the three others who earlier had opted to stay there are safe amid the continuous exchange of fires between Israel and Hamas as the conflict intensifies in its third week. In a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon interview on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo Jose De Vega said the six were already near the Rafah crossing but decided to return to their homes in the north from the long wait. 'Masikip 'yong lugar nila doon kaya bumalik sila sa kanilang tirahan sa Gaza City (The place they were previously staying in was small, that's why they went back to their homes in Gaza City),' he said. 'Ang mabuting balita, silang anim at 'yong tatlo pa na nanatili doon kasama 'yong madre ay safe naman, uninjured sila (The good news is these six Filipinos and the three others with a Filipino nun are safe. They are uninjured),' he added. While no casualties have been reported, De Vega said the Philippine Embassy in Jordan continues to monitor them as Israel steps up its offense against Hamas targets in the area. 'We hope they will be okay. Itong anim kusang loob silang nagdesisyon na bumalik (These six, they voluntarily decided to return),' he added. Meanwhile, a family of 10 Filipinos is still out of reach in the besieged strip, possibly due to the power interruptions. De Vega said the Embassy believes they are safe as most of the 136 are already in the southern portion of Gaza. 'Sa palagay ng Embassy ay hindi sila kasama sa mga namamatay ngayon dahil 'yong nangyayaring iyon ay sa Gaza City or sa northern Gaza. Lahat ng mga ito ay nasa Khan Yunis or southern Gaza, tingin namin naputulan lang ito ng kuryente or walang internet, sana. (Our Embassy thinks they are safe because most of the casualties are from Gaza City or northern Gaza. These Filipinos are in Khan Yunis or southern Gaza, we think they're communication were just cut off. We hope it's just that),' he said. 'So out of the 136, a total of 126 are accounted for,' he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency