Many Filipino migrants say they stay back in Israel because of fear that back home they will be jobless
This picture taken on Nov. 3 shows a gaping hole following an Israeli strike on the Hajji building, which houses several offices including those of Agence France Presse (AFP) in Gaza City amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
The Philippine government has repatriated the remains of a second Filipina killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza region, amid thousands of such migrant workers deciding to continue in Israel.
The remains of Angelyn Aguirre-Torre, a 33-year-old nurse, arrived in Manila on Nov. 3. She was reportedly killed after she did not leave a bomb shelter with her elderly patient. Since the elderly patient was unable to move out, she decided to stay with her. Consequently, both died inside the shelter.
She is among four Filipina migrant workers killed ever since Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, starting a war with Israeli forces. Israel has been bombarding the disputed Gaza strip since then aiming to annihilate Hamas, terming them as terrorists.
Aguirre-Torre made an “unconditional choice to stay by her patient's side instead of saving her own life,” said Raymond Democrito Mendoza, president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, in a statement.
Her action “exemplified the best in the Filipino even in the worst of times and amid the ravages of war,” said Mendoza, also deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
He said the nurse, “went above and beyond the call of duty to help others, even at the risk of losing her own life.”
The body of Loreta Alacre was brought back on Oct. 23, after she was killed in the war.
Alacre spent 15 years in Israel as a migrant worker to support her siblings, nephews and nieces, said a statement from her St. Peregrine Parish in Cadiz City.
Offering prayers and condolences, it asked Catholics to “continue to pray for peace, especially for peace in Israel as we ask Jesus to deliver us from violence and war."
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the repatriation program of migrant workers caught in the crisis, which has brought home at least 119 Filipinos, mostly caregivers and hotel workers.
Reports say some 30,000 Filipinos live in Israel, with at least 134 in the Gaza Strip. The Philippine government has ordered the repatriation of all Philippine citizens in Gaza.
Meanwhile, the presidential office reported on Nov. 3 that the Israeli government assured the Philippines that it would allow Filipinos to pass the Rafah Crossing going to Egypt, to bring Filipinos out of the war zone.
However, thousands of Philippine migrants continue in Israel.
Maricel Garces, a migrant worker who spent 18 years in Israel, said she chose not to leave the country because of her work. "The conflict is not in all places here," Garces, 47, told ucanews.com.
When the siren warns of a bomb attack, they would take shelter in a bunker. "But I feel nervous. Especially when hearing the sounds of the siren," said Garces, based in Tel Aviv.
She said she has been lucky to be able to "regularly keep in touch” with her family through telephone.
Many Filipino migrants stayed back in Israel as they fear once back home they will be jobless, Garces said. It would be difficult for people of her age to find a job back home, she added.
An estimated 11 million Filipinos, some 10 percent of the national population, are migrant workers across the world, propelling the country's economy with their remittances.
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