By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – At least 40 Filipinos were able to “safely and successfully” exit Gaza through the Rafah border crossing to Egypt, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced Wednesday.
In a video message uploaded on his official Facebook page, Marcos thanked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the embassies of Israel, Jordan, and Egypt for the safe passage of the Filipinos from the Gaza Strip.
Marcos said their successful exit from Gaza was made possible through the DFA’s coordination with the embassies in Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.
He said the Filipinos would be repatriated in the coming days.
“Ikinagagalak kong ibalita na 40 sa ating mga kababayan ay ligtas at matagumpay na nakatawid ng Rafah crossing sa Egypt. Sila ngayon ay patungo sa Cairo, kung saan sila magmumula para makauwi nang tuluyan sa ating bansa sa susunod na mga araw (I am happy to announce that 40 of our countrymen have safely and successfully crossed the Rafah crossing in Egypt. They are now on their way to Cairo and from there they will return to our country in the next few days),” he said.
“Nagpapasalamat din tayo sa mga pamahalaan ng Israel at Egypt sa kanilang pagbibigay-prayoridad sa ating mga kababayan upang makalabas ng kanilang teritoryo. Kinikilala din natin ang mediation effort ng Qatar na siyang naging dahilan upang magbukas muli ang mga borders ng mga naturang bansa (We also thank the governments of Israel and Egypt for giving priority to our countrymen to get out of their territory. We also recognize Qatar’s mediation effort, which was the reason for the reopening of the borders of these countries).”
The President expressed optimism that the remaining Filipinos waiting for the signal to exit the Rafah border would be able to cross with their families.
He promised to give an update on Filipinos affected by the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
“Umaasa akong ang natitirang kababayan na nagnanais ding makauwi ay makakatawid din nang maayos, kasama ang kanilang mga asawa at mahal sa buhay. Magbibigay uli ang aking tanggapan ng kaukulang balita tungkol sa mga pangyayaring ito. Maraming salamat (I hope the rest of our countrymen who also want to return home would also be able to cross safely, along with their spouses and loved ones. My office will provide further updates regarding these events. Thank you very much),” Marcos said.
On Tuesday, the DFA said 46 Filipinos were permitted to exit Gaza through the Rafah border.
The 46 are the combined number of the second batch and the first one that was supposed to leave Gaza on Sunday but was delayed due to “attacks by Hamas.”
Latest DFA data show that 135 Filipinos are still in the Gaza Strip, six of whom have also requested repatriation. (PNA)