The eighth batch of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), consisting of 32 repatriates, affected by the Israel-Hamas war arrived in the country on Friday, according to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
Hans Cacdac, officer in charge of DMW, welcomed the repatriates at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) and assured them of continued government support.
This brings the total number of Filipinos repatriated from Israel to 264. But there are still 83 pending repatriation requests being processed by Tel Aviv and the DMW.
“We gave them financial assistance of P125,000. That’s good enough to stem the tides upon their arrival,” Cacdac told an online press briefing on Friday.
“But that doesn’t include the livelihood assistance to be given by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the national reintegration center of the DMW,” he added.
Cacdac said the Department of Health also gave the OFWs initial medical checkups upon their arrival. This will be followed by psychosocial counseling for those possibly traumatized by the war.
Cacdac also shared that the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment will also give livelihood and employment assistance.
The DMW has also scheduled a get-together with the repatriates next week to check how they are doing after coming back from Israel.
During that event, they will be asked whether they want new jobs or help in putting up their own businesses.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) placed Filipinos in Israel under Alert Level 3 calling for voluntary repatriation after Palestine’s de facto government Hamas staged sneak attacks on communities in southern Israel on Oct. 7.
The attacks resulted in the deaths of 1,400 people, including four Filipinos, and the abduction of around 230 residents, believed to include two more Filipinos.
Israel declared war on Hamas on Oct. 8 and later staged continuous military operations on the Gaza Strip, including Gaza City, which has so far resulted in the deaths of 11,000 Palestinian civilians.
In support of Hamas, another Islamist organization, Hezbollah, also staged air attacks on Israeli military positions along the Israel-Lebanon border and sparked the evacuation of thousands of people, including Filipinos.
The DMW, Cacdac said, was already helping around 150 OFWs who have asked to be repatriated from Lebanon, which the DFA also placed under Alert Level 3. Thus far, DMW has repatriated 31 OFW