overseas Filipinos

Dozens of Filipinos in Gaza to evacuate via Rafah border crossing


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Dozens of Filipinos in Gaza to evacuate via Rafah border crossing

EXIT POINT. A general view of the Rafah border crossing point with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 1, 2023.

Arafat Barbakh/Reuters

There are 46 Filipinos granted approval to leave Gaza on Tuesday, November 7

MANILA, Philippines – The first group of Filipino evacuees from Gaza finally got approval to go through the Rafah border crossing to Egypt after experiencing delays, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday, November 7.

They are expected to cross the border to Egypt by Tuesday evening, local time. Egypt is 6 hours behind Manila.

Philippine officials will then pick them up to bring them to Cairo, where they are expected to stay for a few days before flying back to Manila.

The group consists of nine families and one overseas Filipino worker who were supposed to come home in two batches. However, only 39 out of the 46 Filipinos who got the green light are waiting at the border, so far.

DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said some are having “second thoughts” about having to leave behind their Palestinian partner.

“Our embassy is still convincing the seven to cross because it might affect our future listings for future repatriations of other Filipinos,” De Vega told reporters in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday.

Filipinos in the besieged Palestinian territory grew up there, being children of Filipinos who married Palestinians and eventually settled there. De Vega previously noted that some of them may want to return to Gaza and not settle in the Philippines if they were to be evacuated.

But officials are hopeful after the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Manila’s embassy in Tel Aviv that the Palestinian spouses of Filipinos may be allowed to cross the border.

Philippine officials are just waiting for written approval.

“That will mean it will be easier for our embassy to convince those left to cross the border when their time comes or when they are already called to process,” De Vega said. – Rappler.com

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