P7.4B in cash remittances from Filipino workers ‘at risk’ as Israel-Hamas war rages

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The Philippines risks losing some P7.4 billion in cash remittances from thousands of migrant Filipino workers, mostly caregivers and private duty nurses, in the event of an escalation in the war between Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas.

“Our best estimate is that Filipino workers in Israel send to their families here in the Philippines around $131 million (or P7.4 billion) in cash transfers on an annual basis,” Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said on Monday.

“The ballpark figure covers dollars coursed through bank as well as non-bank remittance channels,” Pimentel said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier reported that three Filipinos workers – a 33-year-old female nurse from Pangasinan, a 42-year-old male caregiver from Pampanga, and a 49-year-old female caregiver from Negros Occidental – have been killed in Hamas attacks against Israel.

Pimentel offered condolences to the families of the three Filipinos.

“Our hearts go out to their loved ones,” Pimentel said.

The compulsory repatriation of Filipinos in Israel “is still not being recommended” despite the three deaths, according to the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The DFA has so far raised Alert Level 2 in Israel, which means that the non-essential movement of Filipinos there is restricted, and that there will be no fresh deployments of workers to that country.

The DFA has four alert levels – Alert Level 1 or the precautionary phase, Alert Level 2 or restriction phase, Alert Level 3 or voluntary repatriation phase, and Alert Level 4 for mandatory evacuation or repatriation.

Alert Level 4 is issued when the host country is experiencing “large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack.”