‘No Filipino should be left behind in Israel-Hamas conflict’

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
�No Filipino should be left behind in Israel-Hamas conflict�
Smoke billows and debris flies in the air as the night falls on Gaza City during Israeli airstrikes on Oct. 9, 2023.
AFP / Mahmud Hams

MANILA, Philippines — A senior administration legislator is calling on the Marcos administration to do all it can in ensuring that no Filipino is trapped in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“Let us stand united, ensuring that no Filipino is left behind, and reaffirm our commitment to their welfare during this critical period,” Rep. Ron Salo, chairman of the House committee on overseas workers affairs, said following the recent opening of the Egypt-Gaza border.

“It is crucial to seize this opportunity for the safe exit of Filipinos. We urge the Department of Foreign Affairs to coordinate closely with Egyptian officials and international organizations,” he said.

“It is imperative that we ensure Filipinos won’t be left behind when other nationalities are allowed to exit. Every effort must be made to bring our countrymen home swiftly and securely. In the midst of this operation, maintaining clear and constant communication with Filipinos is paramount,” he said.

Eighteen Filipino repatriates arrived yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Israel.

They were the second batch of repatriates who arrived in the country over the weekend since Oct. 20.

As of Oct. 21, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has assisted a total of 34 overseas Filipino workers through the provision of Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.

Each repatriated OFW received P10,000 cash aid and food assistance worth P10,000.

“We will also endorse them to their respective DSWD Field Offices for possible provision of additional services,” Assistant Secretary for strategic communications Romel Lopez said.

Repatriation from Lebanon

The Philippine embassy in Beirut urged Filipinos in Lebanon to be voluntarily repatriated as tensions increase between Israel and Hezbollah.

“Due to the heightened tension in the southern border of Lebanon, the Philippine embassy calls for the voluntary repatriation of Filipino nationals,” the embassy said in its advisory.

Alert Level 3 was raised over Lebanon due to the worsening fighting related to the Israeli conflict.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said in a radio interview yesterday that “Filipinos are being informed that there is a program for repatriation and advised to go home.”

There are around 17,500 Filipinos in Lebanon.

On Tuesday, the embassy urged Filipinos close to Lebanon’s southern border to evacuate preemptively amid persistent tension in the border.

The embassy reminded Filipinos to “take caution and avoid public places, social gatherings, and unnecessary travels around Lebanon, especially to the South” due to the ongoing mass protests across Lebanon and persistent tension in the southern border, “posing a significant threat to the safety and security of civilians.”

Since violence escalated between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory on Oct. 7, there have also been clashes on the border between Israel and south Lebanon, resulting in casualties among civilians.

Energy supply effects

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy (DOE) is hoping the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas will be contained as the agency continues to keep a close watch on developments abroad.

Asked if the country should now be worried about the conflict’s potential repercussions to the local energy sector, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said “we continue to monitor.”

The DOE earlier said it does not expect the attacks on Israel to have long-term effects on oil and gas prices, unless the conflict escalates.

Last week, however, concerns escalated as Israel’s expected ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza was feared to set up a regional war involving Iran.

“If dragged directly into the conflict amid the proxy war, Iran could potentially use as a threat the blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, an important passage for international oil tankers, in retaliation to any action against it,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist treasury group Michael Ricafort said.

Latest data from the DOE showed that all crude oil imported by the country for the first half was sourced from the Middle East.

Bulk or 50.2 percent of it came from Saudi Arabia at 1,744 million liters, making it the country’s major supplier of crude oil.

This was followed by United Arab Emirates, which provided 26.9 percent equivalent to 936 million liters, while the remaining 22.9 percent, equivalent to 796 million liters, were imported from Iraq.

“To ensure a continuous, adequate and stable supply of oil in the country, the DOE still enforces the minimum inventory requirement (MIR),” the agency said.

“Current MIR for refiners stands at in-country stocks equivalent to 30 days of crude and finished products, while an equivalent of 15 days stock of finished products is required for the bulk marketers/importers and seven days for LPG importers,” it said.

The country’s imports volume of crude oil totaled to 3,476 million liters in the first semester, up by 23.7 percent from June 2022’s volume of 2,811 million liters. — Richmond Mercurio, Pia Lee-Brago

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with