overseas Filipinos

DMW, OWWA form task force to monitor Filipinos in Israel


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DMW, OWWA form task force to monitor Filipinos in Israel

FIRE. A building is ablaze following rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, Israel October 7, 2023.


(2nd UPDATE) The Philippine embassy in Tel Aviv says it is verifying unconfirmed reports that Filipino workers, along with other foreign workers, have been captured by Hamas

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) have formed a task force to monitor the situation of Filipinos in Israel following the surprise attack of Hamas that triggered their host country to declare a “state of war alert” on Saturday, October 7.

“We have formed a 24/7 DMW-OWWA Task Force Israel with Hotline 1348, to monitor the situation of dear Kababayans in the southern and central areas affected by the current Hamas-IDF Conflict,” the DMW said in a statement on Saturday.

The agency that the task force is in close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine embassy in Israel.

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The DMW said that Filipino community leaders in Israel have reported that they had contacted their members and had not received any untoward report, to date.

“They report that they remain calm and are accounted for. FilCom leaders remain in contact with the Philippine embassy and MWO,” the DMW said.

The agency said an OFW family had sought their help and that the DMW had “contacted the concerned OFW.”

“She is safe and sound,” the DMW said.

Embassy verifying reports of captured Filipino workers

Meanwhile, the Philippine embassy in Tel Aviv said it was “still verifying” unconfirmed reports that Filipino workers had been captured by Hamas.

“The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv has received these unconfirmed reports. We are still verifying them,” the embassy said.

“As for the Filipino student under the Agrostudies program in Israel, the person in charge said they have received no reports of kidnapping so far. All are accounted for,” the embassy added.

The DMW reminded Filipinos in Israel “to take specific precautionary safety measures and follow the instructions provided by the Israeli Homefront Command.”

The DMW said that a 24/7 Task Force Israel Desk is ready to assist OFWs in Israel and their families back home, through the following contact numbers: Hotline +63 2 1348 or the following WhatsApp and Viber numbers +63 9083268344 | +63 9271478186 | +63 9205171059.

Filipinos in Israel

There are differing estimates of the number of Filipino workers in Israel. A Manila Bulletin report in June quoted Israel ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss as saying that there are around 30,000 Filipinos caregivers in Israel or around 40% of the total caregivers in Israel.

Based on data relased by the DMW in August 2022, around 23,754 overseas Filipino workers in Israel are employed mostly as caregivers, service sector employees, and hotel workers.

Thousands of Filipinos also fly to Israel, where the Holy Land is located, for travel and leisure purposes. The Israel Ministry of Tourism said in July 2023 that a total of 19,300 Filipino tourists visited their country from January to June 2023. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Israel hosted 34,000 Filipino tourists. – With reports from Jairo Bolledo, Michelle Abad, and Patrick James Cruz/Rappler.com

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