AFTER extracting 111 Filipinos out of besieged Gaza Strip, the Philippine Embassy in Amman began focusing their energies this time to another Palestinian-occupied territory – West Bank.
Last week, on November 23, five Filipinos from West Bank were repatriated to Manila. They consisted of two OFWs and a family of three.
This is the second batch of Filipinos who have left the West Bank since the October 7 attacks of the Hamas militias in southern Israel.
For the past six weeks, Israel has been concentrating its war against Hamas in Gaza Strip. But prior to the October 7 attacks, Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting.
After the October 7 attacks, a number of Filipinos in West Bank have expressed desire to come home, fearing that the Israel-Hamas conflict would spill over to their side.
“The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has led to a corresponding increase in the level of violence in the West Bank and made the five Filipinos… to decide to return to the Philippines,” Philippine Ambassador to Amman Wilfredo Santos said.
The Philippines has no Embassy in Gaza and West Bank. But the Philippine Embassy in Jordan has consular jurisdiction over Palestine.
To facilitate the travel of the Filipinos, the Philippine Embassy made representations with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and the Jordanian government.
The five Filipinos left West Bank by land, passed through the Allenby border crossing where an Embassy team was waiting.
After getting clearance from Israel, the Filipinos then proceeded to the Jordan side of the border at the King Hussein border crossing where they get their transit visas. There, Ambassador Santos, Consul Angeli Payumo, Labor Attaché Peña and staff of the Migrant Workers’ Office in Jordan personally welcomed them.
The Filipinos then left Amman for Manila the following day, November 23. Ambassador Santos and Labor Attaché Peña personally sent them off at Queen Alia International Airport.
As of this writing, there are a total of 115 Filipino nationals remain in the West Bank, including nine nuns, 21 Overseas Filipino Workers, and 85 resident Filipinos.
The first batch of two Filipino workers from the West Bank were repatriated on November 8, following the raising of Alert Level 2 in the West Bank in October.
Filipinos in the West Bank who need assistance may contact the Philippine Embassy through its ATN Hotlines at +962 77 798 8818, +962 77 907 7778, +962 77 721 9000, +962 77 907 7775 and +962 6 590 1730 for consular assistance.
Image credits: Photos courtesy of Philippine Embassy Jordan