More Filipinos—now numbering 113–want to leave Lebanon amid the escalating tensions there between Israel and Islamist group Hezbollah, a known ally of Palestinian militant group Hamas, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday, Oct. 26.
Israeli soldiers gather near Merkava tanks as they man a position at an undisclosed location on the border with Lebanon on October 22, 2023. (JALAA MAREY/ AFP)
DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Eduardo de Vega said in an interview on Teleradyo Serbisyo that it is still easy to repatriate Filipinos from Lebanon because commercial flights are still available.
“Saka hindi sila kailangan dumaan sa iba gaya ng nangyayari sa Gaza ngayon (And they don’t need to pass through another [country] like what’s happening to Gaza now),” he added.
“Kung meron kayong kamag-anak sa Lebanon, hikayatin nyo na umuwi kasi ngayon pwede pa, madali lang (If you have relatives in Lebanon, urge them to go home because it’s still possible now, it’s easy),” the official furthered.
De Vega assured that the embassy’s contingency plan is in place in case the number of Filipinos who want to be repatriated increases.
Of the 17,000 Filipinos in Lebanon, 113 have already signified their intent to return to the Philippines.
Quoting the Philippine Embassy in Beirut, De Vega said that 99 percent are caregivers.
Many of them may not want to be repatriated until the violence escalates in Lebanon because of the lack of jobs in the Philippines.
“Marami diyan walang papeles, hindi makakabalik ng Lebanon (Many of them don’t have documents, they won’t be able to go back to Lebanon),” he said, adding that Filipinos in Lebanon seemed to be “happy” there.
The DFA has placed the Middle East country under Alert Level 3, or voluntary repatriation, due to the ongoing tension in the region.
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