Gaza Strip now under Alert Level 4 – DFA

The Philippine government placed the Gaza Strip under Alert Level 4 amid the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian Sunni-Islamic extremist Hamas, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced Sunday.

According to Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Eduardo de Vega, under alert level 4, the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers in Gaza is now mandatory.

“In Gaza, we have put it now under alert level 4, meaning mandatory repatriation,” De Vega said at the Kapihan sa QC forum.

He, however, admitted that the repatriation of Filipinos in the Gaza Strip is unattainable at the moment.

“Of course, it doesn’t mean that we can go in and just get them out of Gaza. Nobody can go in and out, so far,” he explained.

Citing data from the Philippine Embassy in Jordan, De Vega said there are 131 Filipinos in the Gaza Strip – the epicenter of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

‘Filipinos fleeing Gaza too’

De Vega said Filipino nationals were among those who were scrambling to escape from the planned ground invasion of Israel in northern Gaza.

“The remaining Filipinos there have also left,” he said. “They are in other parts of Gaza now. So, hopefully, they are free from collateral damage.”

The development came after the Israeli military ordered the evacuation of 1.1 million people living in Gaza City and northern Gaza in a bid to “wipe out the top political and military hierarchy of Hamas.”

Currently, De Vega noted that at least 78 Filipinos are attempting to cross the Gaza-Egypt border.

“Right now, we are hoping that they’ll be able to cross into the Egypt border. There are nearly 78 already who are crossing except Egypt is still not yet opening the crossing to allow Palestinians not just Filipinos,” he said.

At least three Filipinos have been killed in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, while three others are still unaccounted for.

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