DOLE: No repatriation yet of OFWs in Israel

A Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) official in Israel said on Friday repatriation of overseas Filipino workers in their host country is not yet an option despite the obtaining tension there.

Smoke and flames rise from a tower building as it is destroyed by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 12, 2021. (Xinhua photo)

“Repatriation, not yet. We’re just on Alert 1. What’s important is to evacuate them to a safe place first,” Labor Attaché in Tel Aviv Rudy Gabasa said in a virtual forum.

Alert Level 1 is issued when there are signs of internal disturbances, instability, and external threat to the host country. Filipinos are alerted to take necessary precautions. Gabasa said a deployment ban on workers is also not necessary.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recommends to home office for alert level. Now, it’s level 1, there is no deployment ban. If it’s already level 2, that’s the time that a ban will be imposed,” he said.

Gabasan assured they “are taking the cue of the DFA as (part of the) one country team approach.” He also expressed support for Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello’s statement DOLE’s rapid response team is ready to assist them whenever the need arises.

“The Secretary has instructions for the rapid response team to be ready and to help us here. . . We really need additional personnel to help us extract Filipinos here,” he said, adding they are ready for extraction they also need “to the protocols of Israel.”

Anadolu News Agency’s initial report said the death toll from Israel’s continuing offensive on Gaza has left 109 dead, including 28 children and 15 women, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, while an additional 580 people have been injured.

Seven Israelis have been killed in recent violence — six in rocket attacks, in addition to a soldier who was killed when an anti-tank guided missile struck his jeep.

Tensions have been escalating in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem over the past month as Israeli settlers have repeatedly clashed with residents following a court order for the eviction of Palestinian families in the area.