President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS Photo)

MANILA, May 22 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), welcomed the truce between Israeli forces and the Hamas militant group after 11 days of relentless aerial exchanges that killed hundreds and injured thousands.

“The Philippines welcomes the ceasefire agreement reached by Israel and Hamas. The Philippines acknowledges the efforts of several countries, including Egypt and the United States, in facilitating the agreement,” the DFA said in a statement Friday.

The ceasefire entered into force after Egypt and Qatar brokered an agreement between the two parties to halt the bloodshed.

In a statement, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said leaders of Israel and Hamas bear a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm “to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict.”

Guterres said Gaza is an integral part of the future Palestinian state and no effort should be spared to bring about “real national reconciliation that ends the division.”

He then underscored the importance of stabilizing the ceasefire and establishing a “robust program of humanitarian aid and recovery for Gaza.”

“I underscore the United Nations’ deep commitment to working with Israelis and Palestinians, and with our international and regional partners, including through the Middle East Quartet, to return to the path of meaningful negotiations to end the occupation and allow for the realization of a two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 lines, UN resolutions, international law, and mutual agreements,” Guterres said.

Local reports said at least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, died in the Israeli airstrikes.

About 12 people, including two children, meanwhile, were killed by the rocket fires of Hamas and other militant groups towards populated areas in Israel.

Based on the DFA’s last bulletin, no Filipino has been reported among the fatalities and injured.

The deployment of Filipino workers to Israel has been suspended although the processing of those who have qualified continues. (MNS)

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