A migrant group condoled with the families of two compatriots reported killed in the war in Palestine and called on the Philippine government to ready repatriation and job plans for Filipinos wishing to come home.
In a statement, Migrante International (MI) said it is deeply saddened by reports that two Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have been killed since the outbreak of shooting last Saturday, October 7.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said a 32-year-old newly-wed Filipina who hails from Pangasinan and a 42-year-old Filipino who hails from Pampanga have become casualties in the military actions between the Israeli and Palestinian fighters.
“We also express our deep concern for the more than 70 OFWs in Gaza who are reportedly seeking repatriation and more than 1,500 OFWs in the high conflict areas. Their numbers are expected to increase as the conflict is projected to escalate,” MI said.
The group said the Philippine government must speed up crafting an evacuation and repatriation plan as the conflict only shows signs of escalating.
DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Amman, Jordan is implementing Alert Level 3 protocols that allow voluntary repatriation for Filipinos. The Embassy is also reportedly talking with Egypt about possible exit routes from Gaza.
‘No more deployment in war areas’
MI also said the Philippines must stop its deployment of OFWs in areas affected by war and conflict and instead create more decent jobs in the country.
“It should stop depending on other countries to provide jobs for Filipinos. It should beef up its funds and resources — not for confidential and intelligence funds under the control of a handful in government — for ensuring the safety and protection of our Filipino migrant workers and developing agriculture and national industries in our country,” the group said.
MI called on fellow OFWs and all Filipinos to study the conflict closely and refrain from blaming Hamas for the deaths of two compatriots, saying the Palestinian attacks in Israeli-occupied territories are the result of decades-old violence and occupation.
“The root cause of the conflict in Israel is the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestine. This is one of the longest-running and most brutal occupations in recent world history. It should stop immediately,” MI said.
The group said it also condemns the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government for automatically expressing support for Israel in the conflict.
This article was first published by KODAO Productions