At least eight overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to leave Israel on October 16 as part of the efforts of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to bring them to safety amid the ongoing conflict.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega said that 22 Filipinos have expressed their intention to go home, and eight of them are set to leave next week.

“There are at least 22 Filipinos in Israel who have indicated that they want to go home. The first batch at the government’s expense will be leaving on October 16 – there are eight of them,” De Vega told reporters.

De Vega said the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will shoulder their travel expenses as he emphasized the government will extend to them proper assistance.

“Once they arrive, they’ll be given the proper assistance. The usual reintegration and other assistance packages provided by the DMW and the OWWA,” De Vega said.

The Foreign Affairs official clarified there are still flights going in and out of Israel, but it is not yet advisable for Filipinos to travel to the war-torn country..

De Vega said the situation in Israel is more stable than in Gaza. “The situation in Israel is not a big problem if it refers to the evacuation of nationals because the situation there is more stable and we’re ready to repatriate them and we don’t expect big numbers.”

“It is our kababayan in Gaza, ganoon po. So – and obviously, Israel has indicated that they will undertake measures to eliminate Hamas. So, Gaza has been placed on voluntary – I’m sorry, on voluntary repatriation or crisis at level 3,” he added.

As far as the situation in Gaza is concerned, the Philippine government has yet to initiate the repatriation efforts for affected Filipinos due to security issues, but it has been working closely with Israeli authorities to ensure their safety. |PND

Photo Courtesy of PCO