By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

THE PHILIPPINE Embassy in Tel Aviv has recommended that Filipinos suspend non-essential travel to Israel at least until hostile situations stabilize amid the ongoing conflict with Iran and the war in Gaza.

In a statement, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it is maintaining Alert Level 2 in Tel-Aviv, which restricts non-essential movement for Filipinos there and urges them to avoid public places as well as prepare for possible evacuation.

“All Filipinos in the region are advised to be alert and updated with the security pronouncement of their host governments,” the DFA said.

“For contingency planning purposes, all Filipinos are likewise encouraged to coordinate with their overseas community leaders and our Philippine Embassies and Consulates,” it added.

At the weekend, Iran launched a barrage of missiles and drones at Israel after an Israeli attack on Iran’s consulate in Syria. A seven-year-old girl was hurt in the Iranian strike.

On Monday, the Philippines called on both Israel and Iran to resolve their conflict peacefully and abide by international law.

Meanwhile, Senator Rafael T. Tulfo said he is coordinating with the DFA and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to ensure the safe return of four Filipino seafarers aboard a commercial vessel seized by Iran last April 13.

“I am continuously monitoring and coordinating with the DFA and the DMW to ensure that our countrymen get home safely,” read Mr. Tulfo’s statement written partly in Filipino.

On Tuesday, the DMW said that it is urging the International Bargaining Forum to classify the Strait of Hormuz, where the Israel-linked ship was seized, as a high-risk area that would heighten the monitoring of movement in the area.

Earlier, the DFA released data that there are about 30,000 Filipinos in Israel and 2,000 more in Iran.

Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss told a virtual briefing on Monday that he would be open to holding dialogues with Philippine state agencies to explain Israel’s mechanisms to ensure the safety of Filipinos and other people who visit the country amid the ongoing conflict.

“I fully respect what the authorities in the Philippines will decide to do,” he said.