2 Pinoy doctors in Gaza cross to Egypt

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
2 Pinoy doctors in Gaza cross to Egypt
People wait at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. Egypt is preparing to treat wounded Palestinians from the bombarded Gaza Strip starting November 1, with the opening of a border crossing to people after weeks of war, medical and security sources said. The border authority in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip said that Egypt had agreed to let in 81 of the most badly wounded through Rafah, the only crossing not controlled by Israel.
AFP / Mohammed Abed

MANILA, Philippines — Two Filipino doctors working with Doctors without Borders are among the foreign nationals who have been allowed to exit Gaza and cross over to Egypt, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega confirmed last night.

De Vega said “crossing should happen any time now.”

The two Filipino doctors were included in the initial list of foreign nationals who will be allowed to exit Gaza through the Rafah Crossing. They were identified as Darwin dela Cruz and Regidor Esguerra.

De Vega said Israel first approves the persons to exit Gaza and proceed to the border where their papers are processed by Egyptian authorities.

Meanwhile, six Filipinos who left the Rafah border and returned to Gaza City are back at the crossing, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

De Vega also said the 10 Filipinos who earlier could not be contacted after telecommunications and internet were cut off are now accounted for.

The six Filipionos belonging to one family waited at the border for 20 days to be allowed safe passage.

“They decided to turn back after waiting for days. They were having difficulty securing permission in southern Gaza for foreigners to cross over,” De Vega said in Filipino during a public briefing yesterday.

“Their space was cramped so they returned to their residence in Gaza City, the biggest city there. Unfortunately it is presently being bombarded by Israel,” he said.

The Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza has become the focus of the international effort to provide humanitarian aid to desperate people who have been bombed and displaced in the enclave.

Missile strikes continue across the Gaza Strip as the conflict between Israel and Hamas shows no signs of abating.

Of the 136 Filipinos still in Gaza, all have been accounted for despite the telecommunications breakdown since last Friday.

“Good news is that all 136 are now accounted for. We have contact again with the 126" after 10 were previously reported incommunicado, De Vega said in a television interview.

Three Filipinos – a nun and a father and his child – decided to remain in Gaza.

The evacuation of Filipinos in Gaza is now mandatory after the DFA placed the occupied strip under Alert Level 4 amid ongoing airstrikes and a deepening crisis.

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