Former President Manuel Quezon risked his life and political career to offer refuge for the Jews during the Holocaust.
It thus pains Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that Filipino migrant workers and their children are being driven out of Israel, which bars foreign workers from having children or their visas will not be renewed.
But despite the non-renewal of their work visas, many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stay doing menial jobs. They, along with other foreign workers, are the targets of Israel’s Population Immigration and Border Authority’s (PIA) crackdown on illegal workers.
Drilon suggested the screening of “Quezon’s Game,” a local film which tells the story of Quezon’s life, including the time when he offered shelter for the Jews who were fleeing from Nazi Germany during World War II (1939 to 1945).
“Maybe it’s time to make arrangement for that movie to be shown in Tel Aviv. You know, a little effort on the part of our embassy there, for a little expense that may show how ungrateful they are if they proceed with what they are trying to do,” Drilon said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs assured OFWs in Israel are being closely monitored to ensure that the deportation process will be done in a “just and humane manner.”
On Sunday morning, couple Randy and Sheila and daughters Mika-Kim, 12, and Maureen, 10, were picked up from their house in Tel Aviv by two PIA officers. They are currently detained at Beit Dagan immigration facility.
Supporters, including the children’s classmates at Balfour School, gathered anew later in the day to protest the arrest.
It was the fourth arrest of a Filipino family with school-aged children in the last several weeks.
Rosemarie Perez and her 13-year-old son, Rohan, were deported last week while the other two OFW families are out on bail and appealing their deportation.
Some 60,000 foreign caregivers—most of them women—are currently employed in Israel, according to the Hotline for Migrant Workers, an advocacy and rights organization. Half of the caregivers are from the Philippines, with much smaller numbers from Nepal (15 percent), India, Sri Lanka and Moldova (10 percent each) and the rest from various Eastern European countries. (With a report from Times of Israel)