Photo credit: Arab News
Two Filipino doctors, Dr. Darwin dela Cruz and Dr. Regidor Esguerra, crossed the Rafah Crossing into Egypt last November 2, 2023, amid the ongoing conflict between Israeli forces and Hamas in Gaza. They are volunteers for the international humanitarian aid group Doctors Without Borders. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed their safe arrival in Egypt. The two doctors, along with other foreign nationals, went through a processing period at the border and were then transported to el-Arish, Egypt, which is approximately 30 kilometers from Gaza. They will be transferred to Cairo from el-Arish, with Doctors Without Borders managing their transportation out of Egypt.
The total count of Filipinos in Gaza, excluding the two doctors who have already left, is 136. According to information from the Philippine ambassador in Amman, Jordan, there are 115 Filipinos in Gaza who are waiting for the opportunity to cross the border. Only 19 Filipinos, including one Filipino nun, remain undecided about leaving Gaza.
The departure of foreign passport holders and injured Gazans from the Gaza Strip to Egypt through the Rafah Crossing was facilitated by a deal mediated by Qatar, involving Egypt, Israel, and Hamas. At least 320 foreign passport holders and some injured Gazans were reported to have left Gaza on November 2, with more expected to depart in the coming days as part of the agreement.