Metro Manila, Philippines — Authorities are working on bringing home the remains of the two Filipinos who were killed in the attack on Israel by the Hamas militants, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
“We are not sure if the families prefer to have them here but the process is ongoing,” DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Thursday
The Philippine Embassy in Israel confirmed on Wednesday that two Filipinos were killed in the ongoing war between the Jewish state and Hamas.
In a briefing on Thursday afternoon, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac said the identities of the Filipinos would not be disclosed per families’ request.
One of the fatalities was caregiver Paul Vincent Castelvi, 42, from Pampanga. His father Nick already gave permission to disclose his son’s name.
The other Filipino was a 33-year-old female from Pangasinan, who was working in Israel for six years, the Philippine Embassy in Jordan said Wednesday.
According to Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, a Filipino nurse killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict had stayed by her elderly patient’s side during the attack. Netizens, including the Israeli official, honored the health worker through social media posts.
“Time and again, our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), in the health and human care sector most especially, have proven themselves worthy of their craft, of their skills,” said Cacdac. “It’s a combination of technical skill and big heart, ‘yan ang tatak ng manggagawang Pilipino lalo na sa [that’s the brand of Filipino worker, especially in the] health and human care.”
“The reports — although they still need to be validated, I’ve read the Facebook post — will come as no surprise actually, the heroic efforts of our Filipino caregivers in Israel,” he added.
De Vega said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has already spoken to the bereaved families and offered his condolences. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is also coordinating with them to provide financial assistance, the DFA official added.
In a separate statement, Marcos said he has assured the affected families that the government will provide them with all assistance they need.
“We will provide the utmost support to these families,” he said. “This tragedy will not deter our spirit. We will continue to stand for peace.”
Repatriating the remains will take time, especially with the current situation, De Vega said. He noted that even under non-war conditions, the process takes at least two weeks.
Cacdac said the DMW will work with the Philippine Embassy in Israel for the repatriation of the remains, and secure the proper clearances from Israeli authorities.
De Vega said another body is still being identified with Israeli authorities expected to provide more information about the deceased in the next 24 to 48 hours.
The DFA also said three Filipinos remain missing. De Vega said they were last seen in the area where Hamas launched its large-scale surprise attack against Israel last Saturday.
Meanwhile, 70 of the 137 Filipinos in Gaza have requested for repatriation, according to De Vega.
“Right now, there is no immediate repatriation because Gaza is under a blockade,” he said.
Latest tally showed that the war has killed at least 1,200 people in Israel and at least 1,100 people in Gaza.