PH Embassy in Tel Aviv to issue new passport for Pacheco

(Editor’s Note: The Manila Times is reposting the story to correct the embassy that issued the passport. We regret the error.)

MANILA, Philippines: The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel will issue a new passport to Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco so he could return to the country.

Pacheco’s passport and other belongings were destroyed when Hamas militants attacked Israel and burned the home of his employer.

An image grab taken from a video released by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on November 27, 2023, shows two International Red Cross vehicles reportedly carrying hostages released by Hamas in the Gaza Strip entering the Israeli territory. AFP PHOTO / Handout / Israeli Army

Pacheco was released from the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center on November 26 after Israeli doctors determined that the 33-year-old caregiver “is in good health and fit for discharge.” The embassy “is preparing Jimmy’s new passport for him to be able to go home and spend Christmas with his wife and three children in the Philippines.” Pacheco was taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz last October 7 when Hamas fighters attacked the southern border of Gaza on the Israeli side. His 80-year-old patient was among those reported killed.

He and 23 other foreigners were released by Hamas fighters on the evening of November 24.

Deputy Chief of Mission Anthony Achilles Mandap and other embassy officials visited Pacheco at the hospital prior to his release.

Embassy officials accompanied him to his assigned accommodation where he will spend the next few days recuperating and reconnecting with his family.

“They brought him clothes as well as chicken adobo and pinakbet, as Jimmy craved home-cooked Filipino meals. Jimmy shared that he lost 11 kilos after 49 days of captivity,” the embassy said.

Pacheco will also receive initial financial assistance from the embassy’s DMW-OWWA (Department of Migrant Workers-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) team as well as additional benefits when he arrives in Manila.

The embassy said it will take care of Pacheco’s immediate needs “as he continues his recovery from his ordeal.”

It also requested that the public and media “support this process by allowing him privacy and time to heal in private.

The Israeli government will provide Pacheco and his immediate family “lifetime” social security benefits and regular stipends similar to those given to Israelis who are victims of terrorist attacks, the embassy earlier said.

The embassy on Sunday said Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited Pacheco at the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center the day after he was released from captivity in Gaza by the Hamas militants.

According to the embassy, Cohen has described Pacheco’s release as a “happy day for Israel and the Philippines.”

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