LABOR group Federation of Freedom Workers (FFW) called on the Philippine government last Sunday to issue visas to the Palestinian spouses of Filipinos set to return to the country.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo José A. Vega on Saturday stated that the 134 Filipinos in Gaza have been permitted to leave. However, their Palestinian spouses are not allowed to exit.
A statement issued by the FFW read that the labor group emphasizes the “necessity of family unification,” specifically for repatriated Filipinos with Palestinian spouses who prefer to evacuate from Gaza.
“The family and its values are important to us Filipinos that’s why we understand why many Filipinos in Gaza remain if they are not with their Palestinian spouses,” said Chairperson of FFW-Trade Federation 1 Warie Espada in Filipino.
Meanwhile, FFW Women Network President Ma. Victoria G. Bellosillo said their appeal of family unity is “not only a humanitarian obligation but also resonates with the fundamental values of human rights and the constitutional protection to family as a social institution in the country.”
According to Immigration Rules and Regulations 13(a), non-quota visas may be issued to foreign nationals “who have contracted a valid marriage, recognized by Philippine laws, with a Filipino citizen.”
In addition, the petitioner of the visa should be the Filipino spouse.
FFW President Jose G. Matula cited Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which “underscores the importance of safeguarding individuals’ intimate lives, advocating for every adult’s right to marry and establish a family if they wish.”
Article 16 accentuates the State’s duty to provide protection to the family, reflecting a profound commitment to its welfare, he added.