Israel-Palestine conflict

Philippines condemns attacks by Hamas on Israel that killed hundreds

Bonz Magsambol

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Philippines condemns attacks by Hamas on Israel that killed hundreds

IRON DOME. Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon in southern Israel October 8, 2023.

Amir Cohen/Reuters

'The Philippines conveys its deepest sympathies and condolences to those who have lost family members and loved ones in recent attacks,' Malacañang says, condemning the attacks 'especially against civilian populations'

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Sunday, October 8, condemned attacks by Hamas on Israel that killed at least 250 Israelis and had Hamas escaping with dozens of hostages in by far the deadliest day of violence in Israel since the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago.

“The Philippines conveys its deepest sympathies and condolences to those who have lost family members and loved ones in recent attacks,” Malacañang said.

“The Philippines condemns the attacks, especially against civilian populations,” it added.

The attack on Saturday, October 7, came 50 years and a day after Egyptian and Syrian forces launched an assault during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in an effort to retrieve territory Israel had taken during a brief conflict in 1967.

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Malacañang noted that the Philippines understands the right of states to self-defense in the light of external aggression as recognized in the United Nations Charter.

In a separate statement on Sunday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said that the Philippines is monitoring the situation in Israel and “will continue to look after the welfare of Filipinos who are affected by the current situation.”

At a press briefing on Sunday morning, Israeli Ambassador to Manila Ilan Fluss called on Filipinos and other countries to condemn the attack and to stand in solidarity with them.

“We call on our friends and allies to express strong support for Israel and to condemn these terror attacks by Hamas. We expect the international community and our close allies to condemn terror and express support for Israel’s right to defend itself and its citizens,” he said.

“As we navigate these challenging times, a resounding message reverberates: Stand with Israel, condemn the attacks by Hamas, and reject terrorism unequivocally,” Fluss added.

Ensure safety of Filipinos

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has also instructed the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to “locate and account for all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families in Israel.”

The DMW has opened a hotline and other communication channels that will accept calls and queries from our OFWs and the Filipino community who are in need of government assistance.

Israel and the Philippines have had good bilateral relations. The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines lists 14 major bilateral agreements between the two countries.

Israel also benefits from Philippine overseas workers, primarily within the area of caregiving. The number of Filipino care workers working in Israel in the 1980s reached a high of 100,000, or about 7% of the Israeli work force.

In an interview with the Manila Bulletin in 2018, Philippine Ambassador to Israel Nathaniel Imperial said 24,000 out of 29,000 Filipino workers currently in the country are caregivers. 

Fluss couldn’t give definite figures yet regarding how many were affected by the attack. Meanwhile, he advised tourists to exercise caution in visiting Israel. No travel restrictions have been imposed yet. – Rappler.com

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.