President Benigno S. Aquino III directed the Department of Foreign Affairs to step up its efforts in ensuring the safety of Filipinos amid the escalating tensions in the Gaza strip and in Israel, a Palace official said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told a regular press briefing in Malacanang the Chief Executive ordered the DFA to update him on developments in the Gaza strip and in Israel and provide assistance to overseas Filipino workers and Filipinos residing there.
“Si (DFA Spokesman) Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez nagsalita na po. Magpapadala po ang DFA ng teams po doon to monitor. Inatasan po kami ng Pangulo to update him kahit na nasa Cambodia siya. Noong bago pa po siya umalis, he already asked us to update him on a regular basis kung ano ang nangyayari doon,” Lacierda said.
“Ang concern po ni Pangulong Aquino is for the safety of the Filipinos in the Gaza strip and also in Israel. So, that’s the reason why the DFA is sending teams to monitor the safety of the Filipinos there,” he said.
The DFA has not reported any Filipino casualty in the conflict-stricken Gaza strip.
The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv is closely monitoring the situation of Filipinos following the resurgence of violence between Israel and militant Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip.
There are about 100 Filipinos in the Gaza strip while about 41, 000 are working in mainland Israel, the DFA said.