Filipino Palestinian refugees struggle after initial government support wanes

Filipino Palestinian refugees struggle after initial government support wanes
via Al Jazeera English

The families received initial support but struggled to find housing and reconnect with relatives

December 22, 2023
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Members of the Filipino Palestinian families repatriated from Gaza due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict are concerned about their future after initial support from the Philippine government has subsided.
Facing uncertainty: There are reportedly more than 60 families housed at the University of the Philippines, as facilitated by NGOs, after they struggled to find shelter. However, this arrangement was set to last only until Thursday, leaving families in uncertainty. 
“They feel abandoned,” said Dr. Edelin Dela Paz, head of the Philippine-Palestine Friendship Association (PPFA), according to the South China Morning Post.
Left behind: The Department of Foreign Affairs reportedly repatriated 102 Filipinos from Gaza to Manila along with their Palestinian spouses and relatives from Nov. 7 to 14.
“We are thankful to the government for bringing us home, for saving us from the war. But it is hard (for) us to come home without money and (with) nowhere to stay,” Revelina Cargullo told Arab News. “When we were sent home after leaving Gaza, we were told that we will be taken care of when we get home.”
According to Cargullo, they were given cash aid and were housed in hotels for three days before they were left to fend on their own. Displaced by Israeli strikes, they left everything behind in Gaza. The families, repatriated with promises of more permanent shelter, received initial support but struggled to find housing and reconnect with relatives.
Groups supporting refugees: The PPFA and other civil society groups stepped in to assist evacuees with housing and support. The UP Academic Union and various organizations also established a “solidarity center” to assist the families. 
Urging the government: Critics argue that the government has been slow in responding to their plight, urging protection for the refugees, given concerns about potential labeling as “terrorists.” Civil society groups, including Sandugo, called for the recognition of the repatriates’ rights as refugees and urged the government to craft long-term plans for their protection.
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      Michelle De Pacina

      Michelle De Pacina
      is a New York-based Reporter for NextShark

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