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Home Press Statement Statement of Concern on the Safety and Situation of OFWs in Israel 

Statement of Concern on the Safety and Situation of OFWs in Israel 

Statement of Concern on the Safety and Situation of OFWs in Israel 

Migrante Canada Press Statement

10 October 2023

Photo Credit: Rappler

Migrante Canada shares the concerns of the families of the OFWs in Gaza which has been declared in a state of war alert since October 7. We are all concerned about the safety and situation of our kababayan in Israel.

There are about 24,800 Filipinos in Israel, of which there is an estimate of around 200 OFWs in the Gaza Strip, according to the Philippine government’s Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Many of our kababayan work as caregivers and workers in the hotel and service sectors.

Migrante Canada calls on the Philippine government, through the embassies in Israel and Jordan, to protect the safety of our kababayan, extend immediate services, like proactively offer repatriation and evacuation from Gaza, provide regular updates, and provide a bomb shelter in the area for Filipinos who are unemployed or undocumented.

While there are no verified reports of Filipino hostages, we know the situation is highly volatile. We do remember the abduction of OFW Angelo de la Cruz during the war in Iraq in 2004.

While the OFWs expressed concern about their safety in the Gaza Strip, the ABS-CBN online news interviewed a Filipino caregiver who said that some of them “were unlikely to go home to the Philippines for now.” When other foreign nationals are being evacuated amidst continued reports of bombing and kidnappings in the Gaza strip, our OFWs have prioritized their jobs over their lives.

This is a sad commentary about our OFWs and the terrible state of the Philippine economy. Many OFWs will readily take the option of taking their chances in a place under a state of war alert rather than go back to the Philippines. For many, the idea of repatriation, albeit alive and safe from the war in their host countries, returning home with no prospects of decent jobs, is just not good enough. The Philippine government needs to create long-term reintegration programs for returning OFWs.

The Philippines will continue to be a supplier of Filipino migrant labour in the world, even in highly critical areas like Israel and the Middle East, as long as the root causes of labour migration are not addressed such as joblessness, landlessness, poverty, and hunger. Similarly, the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict such as the Israeli occupation and settlement in the occupied Arab territories must be addressed to realize peace for the people in Palestine and Israel. ###