Filipino who was held hostage by Hamas finally arrives home in Philippines

Despite his traumatic experience, Jimmy Pacheco said he’ll go back to Israel and continue his work as an overseas Filipino worker.

Charie Abarca

Charie Abarca

Philippine Daily Inquirer


Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco (centre) receives medical attention at Shamir Medical Center in Israel when this photo was taken in November 2023, just a day after he was released by Hamas militants along with 23 other hostages. With him are Philippine Ambassador to Israel Pedro Laylo Jr. (right) and labour attaché Rodolfo Gabasan. PHOTO: PHILIPPINE EMBASSY IN ISRAEL/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

December 19, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Thirty-three-year-old Jimmy Pacheco, one of the two Filipinos previously held hostage by Palestinian group Hamas, has finally arrived in the Philippines.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and its attached agencies welcomed Pacheco on Monday along with other Filipinos returning home in time for the holidays.

Pacheco was released by Hamas in November after he was taken hostage on October 7.

But despite his traumatic experience, Pacheco said he’ll go back to Israel and continue his work as an Overseas Filipino Worker.

“Gaya ng sinabi ko sa asawa ko, babalik po ako ng Israel dahil kahit ganun po ang nakaraan ko, [gusto kong] maibigay ‘yung gusto kong gawin sa kanila. Ganun naman po dapat ang mga magulang,” said Pacheco in press conference on Monday.

(Just like what I told my wife, I will go back to Israel because I want to provide for my family. That’s how parents should be.)

“Ayaw ko pong maranasan nila ‘yung paghihirap ko simula noong bata hanggang ngayon na naghihirap pa rin. Ayaw ko pong iparanas sa kanila kaya babalik po ako,” he added.

(I don’t want them to experience the same suffering I’ve experienced since I was a child. I don’t want them to experience that, that’s why I am going back.)

Pacheco said he is looking forward to spending the holiday season with his family, noting that it will be the very first Christmas he’ll spend with them since he became an OFW.

In the same press conference, DMW Officer-in-Charge Hans Cacdac said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has directed Philippine government agencies to implement a whole of government approach and help the Pacheco family.

“Meron nang paunang assistance na naibigay, but of course, upon his return, we will mobilize further our resources in terms of pangkabuhayan,” said Cacdac.

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