56 more Filipinos exit Gaza through Rafah border crossing

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
56 more Filipinos exit Gaza through Rafah border crossing
Palestinian women react after an Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 7, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
AFP / Mohammed Abed

MANILA, Philippines — Fifty-six more Filipinos have left the war-torn Gaza Strip and are set to reach Cairo after being allowed to cross the Rafah border crossing, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Friday.

“Happy to hear the update that 56 more Filipinos have left Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, joining the 42 who had previously crossed,” Marcos said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

This brings the total number of Filipinos evacuating from the Gaza Strip to 98 out of the estimated population of 137 Filipinos in the area.

The Rafah crossing is the only safe passage out of Gaza Strip. The first Filipinos to leave Gaza through the Rafah border made their exit on November 2 after repeated appeals from governments and international rights advocates to Egypt. 

While Filipino nationals have been fleeing to avoid being killed by Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said in an earlier press briefing that these Palestinian-Filipinos are "permanent residents" of Gaza who may eventually return to their home country after the fighting.

Egypt opened the border crossing on November 1, allowing some foreign and dual nationals to leave Gaza and to allow the entry of trucks carrying aid.

Thousands of civilians, both Palestinians and Israelis, have died since October 7 after Hamas militants entered southern Israel in an unprecedented attack that triggered a war declared by Israel on Hamas.

Despite mounting calls for a ceasefire, including one from the United Nations, Israel has refused to stop its indiscriminate attacks on the Gaza Strip, which it has been bombarding with airstrikes. At least 10,000 are estimated dead, according to the Palestinian health ministry, while children killed have reached 4,000.

Four Filipinos have been killed in the conflict — a death toll that made the country’s ambassador to the United Nations abstain from voting in favor of a call for a truce.

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