Philippines ready to evacuate workers in Gaza, barred by Hamas

Featured South East Asia - November 19th, 2012

The Philippine government is preparing to evacuate nearly 100 overseas Filipino workers from Gaza but the group has so far been unable to leave amid intensifying tensions, the Israeli Embassy in Manila said Monday.

“Right now there are 120 Filipinos in Gaza and 90 of them have accepted the terms to leave for Israel, then from Israel to Jordan, but right now they are blocked from leaving Gaza not by us but unfortunately by the Hamas group,” Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy Yaniv Revach said in a statement. Revach urged the Philippine government to use a third party negotiator to talk to Hamas.

“As soon as people get out of Gaza, they will be safer in Israel. There won’t be any problem anymore”.

This comes as Philippine-based migrants rights group Migrante Middle East called on the government to evacuate Filipinos in the territory as violence escalates. No Filipino casualties have been reported.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said “the Philippine government remains ready to assist in getting them out of harm’s way in light of the evolving situation there”.

Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire has intensified as Palestinian death tolls mounted, AFP reports.