Philippines president says additional national may be among hostages in Gaza

The Philippines’ president, Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., says he is “overjoyed to confirm” that a Filipino, Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco, was among the group of 11 foreign nationals to be released as Hamas hostages in Gaza on Friday, in a deal negotiated by Bangkok with Iran, Qatar, and Egypt.

Ten Thai nationals were also released as part of the deal. In addition, 13 Israeli hostages were released from Gaza as part of a four-day temporary truce agreement to pause fighting in the Palestinian enclave and free an overall 50 Israeli hostages over the course of the four days.

Marcos Jr. says Pacheco was “now safely in the custody of officials in our Israel embassy,” and thanked “the work of the Philippine Foreign Service in securing his release,” and Qatar “for their invaluable assistance.”

He says the Philippines remains “concerned over the whereabouts of our other national, Ms. Noralyn Babadilla, and are sparing no effort to locate and secure her if she is indeed found to be one of the hostages.”

“We pray for the continued success of the truce and for all hostages to be released,” he says.

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