Egypt OKs 30-day visa for ‘Gaza Pinoys’ Filipinos in the Strip stay put for now

KUWAIT CITY/CAIRO, Nov 24: Egyptian Immigration authorities approved the issuance of a 30-day temporary visa to Filipinos in Gaza who want to enter Egypt, disclosed on Saturday the Philippines Rapid Response Team (PH-RRT) led by Ambassador Ricardo Endaya that was dispatched by the Philippine government last week to assist the over 100 Filipinos living in Gaza.

Endaya during a phone interview with the Arab Times stated that the Chief of the Egyptian Immigration has assured them that any Filipino who is staying in Gaza and wants to enter Egypt will be given easy access and 30 days to stay in Egypt.

Endaya and his team visited the Rafah Border to check on the situation in the area after the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was implemented last Wednesday.

“There is still heavy Egyptian military presence here at the Rafah border. They’re still on full alert due to threats from militants,” disclosed Endaya.

He cited that as situation in Gaza begins to normalize and Filipinos who earlier requested to be extracted and repatriated to the Philippines may have decided to stay put for now. However, he stressed that his team wants to make sure that all Filipinos in Gaza are in good condition.

 “We want to enter Gaza and check personally on the Filipinos. To those who want to stay there, we will respect their decision and to those who want to leave and be repatriated we will assist them,” he stressed.

The Philippines Rapid Response Team has already forwarded its request to the Egyptian and Hamas authorities that they be allowed to enter Gaza. “We’re just waiting for the go signal from the concerned authorities so we could proceed to Gaza,” explained Endaya.

According to Endaya, the entry of Filipinos from Gaza into Egypt has been eased out by the Egyptian Immigration authorities but returning to Gaza is subject to strict procedures.

“They have to follow certain procedures that must be coordinated with the Hamas, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the Philippine Embassy in Cairo. I believe they have to follow these procedures to ensure that no lawless elements can enter Gaza to disrupt the ceasefire,” he pointed out.

By: Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff

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