By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The family of the missing Negrense overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Israel has sought the help of the Negros Occidental provincial government to locate her amid concerns that she could have been abducted by the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
Anabella Alacre, the sister of the missing OFW, Loreta, personally visited the Provincial Capitol yesterday morning, as she did not have updates on her sister’s whereabouts.
Loreta, who works as a caregiver in Tel Aviv, Israel, went missing after Hamas militants attacked the Tribe of Nova Music Festival in Kibbutz Re’im town in southern Israel on October 7.
At least 260 people were killed while an undetermined number of attendees were allegedly kidnapped by the militants and taken to the Gaza Strip.
Anabella said her sister’s employer, Noam Solomon, in a social media post, revealed that Loreta was accompanied by her Chinese boyfriend at the music festival.
Solomon is also looking for Loreta after the weekend attacks.
“Please help find my Lorie,” Solomon said in a Facebook post.
“If anyone knows, hears, or sees, please update in a personal message as soon as possible,” the post added.
Solomon said Loreta’s partner was shot in the back during the attack, but he was rescued by Israeli forces and was taken to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon City, Israel.
The employer added that they were unable to get answers from Loreta’s partner, as Israeli authorities had barred entry to the hospital due to security reasons.
Anabella has been coordinating with the Department of Migrant Workers for information regarding her sister.
Earlier, Loreta’s friend, Rosalina Diamante, said she last communicated with Loreta on October 6, as the latter planned to attend the music festival.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the provincial government is taking steps to locate Loreta, a native of Cadiz City.
“We’re all trying to contact her directly. We’re hoping for the best,” Lacson said.
Lacson also wants to confirm a report received by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) satellite office in Bacolod City, stating that Loreta has been found in a hospital in Israel.
He said the OWWA will be handling the concern.
Lacson said the provincial government is ready to assist the Alacre family.
The provincial government has opened a public assistance desk at the Provincial Capitol to assist families of Negrense OFWs working in Israel or in the Gaza Strip affected by the war.
On the other hand, Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said he received information that several Bacolodnons were nearly caught in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Benitez said a group of Bacolodnons travelled to the Holy Land as part of a tour, and they were able to leave Israel safely, a day before Hamas began its attack.
As of yesterday, the mayor said the city government has not received reports of Bacolodnon OFWs who have been affected by the ongoing conflict.
The city government continues to monitor the situation.
On Wednesday, October 11, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines confirmed the tragic deaths of two Filipinos during the attacks over the weekend.
The DFA has yet to confirm if there are Filipinos currently being held hostage by Hamas.
An OFW’s family earlier approached the DFA after identifying their relative while being paraded with the other captives by Hamas in the streets of Gaza in a video posted on social media.
More than 30,000 Filipinos are living and working in Israel, and 137 in the Gaza Strip.
The DFA has already placed Israel under Alert Level 3 on Wednesday, restricting the deployment of OFWs into the Middle East country.
Hundreds of OFWs from both Israel and the Gaza Strip have also requested repatriation, as Israeli Defense Forces prepare for a ground invasion of Gaza to “wipe out” the militants and rescue the hostages.
Fears are also mounting that the conflict could widen as Hamas’ allied terror group, Hezbollah, have also begun attacking northern Israel with rockets.
Hamas threatened that they will begin executing hostages if Israel does not halt its airstrikes into the Gaza Strip.
However, it remains uncertain whether this threat extends to foreign nationals abducted during the attack./With reports from PNA / DGB, WDJ