LABOR Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said worker departures for Israel will be suspended following continuing violence between Israeli forces and militants in the Gaza strip.

In a statement Thursday, Mr. Bello said, “The processing of those who already qualified continues. We are merely suspending their actual departure while the tensions are still high.”

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) had said earlier that deployment of workers, especially caregivers and healthcare workers, to Israel will continue for work sites that are deemed safe.

Mr. Bello called on caregivers and healthcare workers set to work in Israel to delay their flights. He added, “It will just be a few days of delay. We just want to be sure they will be safe.”

He said deployments to Israel are not yet banned outright.

Almost 30,000 overseas Filipino workers reside in Israel, with DoLE estimating that around 300 live in areas subject to Palestinian rocket attack. — Gillian M. Cortez