By JOVILAND RITA, GMA Integrated News
Two Filipinos were injured from the massive attack conducted by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel over the weekend, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said Tuesday.
“Oo, pero lahat ito nagri-recover na (Yes, but both of them are already recovering),” OWWA administrator Arnell Ignacio told GMA Integrated News’ Unang Balita when asked to confirm if there were two Filipinos hurt in the violence.
According to Ignacio, one of the wounded Filipinos was hospitalized in a Health Liaison Office (HLO) while the other, who suffered from suffocation, was staying in a hotel in Tel Aviv.
“Iyong napabalita na wounded, si Joey Pasulingan, nabisita na rin natin ito, na-hospitalized sa HLO (Filipino personnel have already visited the Filipino who was reportedly wounded, Joey Pasulingan),” Ignacio said.
“At iyong napapabalita na na-suffocate sa inhalation ay nasa Tel Aviv hotel na, okay na rin siya. Tuloy-tuloy ang mga tao ng OWWA, [Department of Migrant Workers], at [Department of Foreign Affairs] na binibisita sila,” he added.
(The Pinoy who experienced suffocation due to inhalation of some substances is now staying at a Tel Aviv hotel. OWWA, DMW, and DFA personnel continue to visit them.)
Currently, Ignacio said there were seven Filipinos that are unaccounted for.
“But we’re working 24/7 to account for our kababayans. Ang atin pong DFA, DMW, at meron naman tayong nakatalagang tao na nandiyan sa Israel, and of course ang [Israel Defense Forces], tinutulungan po tayo,” he said.
(But we’re working 24/7 to account for our compatriots. DFA, DMW, and designated personnel there, as well as the Israel Defense Forces, are helping us.)
The DFA on Monday said a Filipino was reportedly abducted while six others were reported missing in the ongoing armed conflict in Israel.
Based on the report from the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, a Filipina reached out to Philippine diplomats and said that “she recognized her husband in one of the videos circulating in social media, which shows a man being held by armed individuals, and most likely brought to Gaza.”
“Post urgently relayed this to the Israel military authorities. Post cannot independently verify his identity based on the video alone but considers the report of the wife as important. We are also working with community contacts on his case,” the DFA said.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac said repatriation and evacuation of Filipinos from Israel will be done “at the proper time.”
“Sa tamang oras, sa tamang panahon, in coordination with the Israeli authorities, ay tayo ay magsasagawa evacuation-repatriation doon sa mga nagnanais umuwi. Kapag dumating sa punto ng mandatory repatriation, ay isasagawa rin natin ito,” Cacdac said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.
(We will conduct evacuation-repatriation for those who wish to return home at the right time, in coordination with the Israeli authorities. When it comes to the point of mandatory repatriation, we will also carry that out.)
Pending this, Cacdac said that authorities would continuously advise affected Filipinos to remain indoors or inside their bomb shelters to keep themselves safe.
Ignacio said they have received 10 requests for repatriation so far.
On Saturday, Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years, firing rockets and deploying gunmen to several Israeli towns. At least 22 people in Israel were killed.
A “state of war alert” was issued by Israel’s Home Front Command thereafter.
Israel said the Iran-backed group had declared war as its army confirmed fighting with militants in several Israeli towns and military bases near Gaza.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, vowed to retaliate.
The death toll due to the attacks surged to over 1,000 as reported by officials on both sides on Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse.
The conflict’s worst escalation in decades has claimed more than 600 lives on the Israeli side, the government press office said.
Gaza officials reported at least 370 deaths. —KBK, GMA Integrated News