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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

PBBM: Hamas hostage Noralyn Babadilla safely back in Israel

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President Marcos on Wednesday confirmed the release of Noralyn Babadilla, the other Filipino national taken hostage in Gaza by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

On his official X account, Mr. Marcos said Babadilla has already been freed and is now safe in Israel.

“Just days after expressing concern for Noralyn Babadilla’s whereabouts, I am very happy to announce that Noralyn is safely back in Israel, becoming the second Filipino released from Gaza,” he said.

With Babadilla’s release, “All Filipinos affected by the war have been accounted for,” Mr. Marcos said.

“I have entrusted our officials at the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv to attend to her needs in coordination with Israeli authorities,” he added.

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President Marcos extended his gratitude to Israeli authorities for facilitating the release of Babadilla, as well as for all ongoing assistance to Filipinos in Israel.

He also thanked the governments of Egypt and Qatar for their “crucial role in this process over the past several weeks.”

Babadilla’s freedom from the hands of the Hamas, came a few days after Marcos confirmed the release of Filipino national Gelienor Pacheco.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in a statement, said the Qatar government mediated the negotiations that allowed the release of Babadilla, and previously Pacheco.

DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza also extended gratitude to Israel for “agreeing to the conditions” which facilitated the release of more hostages as well as their assistance to all Filipinos in Israel.

“We also recognize the support and participation of Egypt as well as the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and other international organizations in the process,” she said.

“We remain committed to looking after the welfare of Filipinos affected by the ongoing conflict, and share the hope for the eventual cessation of all hostilities in the region,” she added.

Pacheco and Babadilla, a Filipino-Israeli national, were among the more than 200 kidnapped by the Hamas group when it mounted a cross-border assault on Israel last Oct. 7. With Charles Dantes

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