Lawmakers call for end to violence in Israel, safety of Filipinos

Philippine lawmakers on Sunday condemned the violence committed against innocent civilians in the ongoing conflict in Israel.

In separate statements, senators are seeking the immediate release of hostages.

They also called on the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and other Philippine government agencies to secure the safety of overseas Filipinos and ensure their safe passage if necessary.

They also urged full utilization of the Assistance to Nationals Fund – a program that supports Filipinos in distress all over the world.

“Neither freedom nor justice can truly be won through this kind of violence,” said Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Senator Grace Poe also emphasized that repatriation should be calibrated for those who want to go home while the borders are still open.

“As we hope for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, we have to act with dispatch so that no Filipinos will be included in the count of casualties,” she said.

Senator Raffy Tulfo also stressed that Filipinos in Israel must stay vigilant and follow safety advisories.

“Sa kasalukuyan, inaalam pa ng task force kung may mga Pilipinong kabilang sa mga napabalitang 250 na kataong namatay at 1,590 na nasugatan sa mga naganap na mga pag-atake sa lugar. Nasa 2,000 OFW ang naitalang naninirahan sa Gaza,” he said.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Martin Romualdez urged all involved parties, especially the leaders of Hamas, to pave the way toward a peaceful resolution.

“The history of this region has seen enough bloodshed; sustainable peace is the only way forward. May peace prevail in the region and may the global community come together to support a harmonious resolution to this longstanding conflict,” he said.

Earlier today, the DFA said it had not received any reports of casualties among Filipinos in Israel following the attacks by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Affairs Eduardo De Vega said no Filipinos had asked to be repatriated, but the DFA was ready to do so anytime repatriation was needed.

On Saturday, Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years, firing rockets and deploying gunmen against several Israeli towns.

Israel’s Home Front Command subsequently issued a “state of war alert.”

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 among Israelis climbed to at least 250 by Sunday morning, PH time. Meanwhile, more than 230 Gazans were also killed as Israel launched retaliatory strikes, according to a report by Reuters.

The Philippine Embassy in Israel announced early Sunday (PH time) that it will be closed beginning Sunday, October 8 “until further notice” due to the security situation. — DVM, GMA Integrated News

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