Speaker Romualdez grateful for the release of Babadilla

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday commended the Marcos administration for exercising all efforts to ensure the release of Noralyn Babadilla from captivity after being trapped in the Middle East conflict.

“Our gratitude is beyond words. Nevertheless, this means the government is doing its best to rescue any OFW from harm’s way. Our goal is for them to be safe and, if possible, to be reunited with their families back home,” Speaker Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives, said.

He also thanked the Israeli, Egypt, and State of Qatar governments for their pivotal role in facilitating the release of Babadilla.

Babadilla and caregiver Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco were taken hostage by Hamas last October 7. Pacheco was released last week by the Palestinian militant group, while Babadilla is now safely back in Israel following her release by Hamas.

Both Filipinos were freed during the ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas.

The 49-year-old Pacheco, who hails from Ilocos Norte, is now staying in a hotel and will be repatriated to Manila before Christmas, the Philippine Embassy in Tel-Aviv said.

Pacheco was one of the first batch of Hamas hostages who were released as part of the prisoner exchange and truce agreement between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.