Metro Manila, Philippines— Almost 60 Filipinos in Lebanon said they want to return home amid the escalating tensions between Israel and Islamist group Hezbollah, the Philippine embassy said on Monday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday placed the Middle Eastern country under Alert Level 3 due to the ongoing conflict there. This started after Palestinian militants fired shots from Lebanon, after Hamas launched a large-scale attack against Israel on Oct. 7.
“On Sunday morning when we held our meeting with the FiIipino community leaders, we already received 59 applications,” Philippine ambassador to Lebanon Raymond Balatbat told CNN Philippines’ The Source.
Of that number, the ambassador said three were from southern Lebanon where most of the exchange of fire between the Israeli forces and Lebanon-based militants has taken place. There are a total of 122 Filipinos in the area, he said.
Balatbat said there are around 17,500 Filipinos in Lebanon and more are expected to request for repatriation as the intensity and frequency of the exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel increase. Other embassies are asking their citizens to leave and airlines are cutting down their flights to Beirut, he added.
“We heard that a number of Lebanese families living near the southern border with Israel have already left the area and have come here to Beirut, so there is a lot of uncertainty and that’s causing really this panic among people here,” Balatbat said.
Supply of water and food in Lebanon are still enough but there will definitely be problems in the near future if the conflict spills over, the envoy said.