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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

Hostage survives 49-day Hamas captivity by consuming toilet paper; reunites with family in Cagayan

Updated: Jan 8

Cagayan, Philippines – After 49 harrowing days in captivity under Hamas in Gaza, Gelienor "Jimmy" Pacheco has finally found solace, reuniting joyfully with his family in Santa Ana, Cagayan.


Reflecting on his improbable survival, Pacheco recounted his disbelief at enduring the ordeal, uncertain if he would make it out alive while confined within a tunnel.


Desperate circumstances led him to resort to consuming toilet paper to stave off hunger.


Fortunately, Pacheco was among the hostages recently liberated. The Philippine government orchestrated his repatriation from the war-stricken Middle East, allowing him to reunite with his family for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, reported the government’s official public information arm – Region 2.

Cherishing the reunion with his loved ones, he extended appreciation to the prompt actions of the government, singling out the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), and the Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines, Ilan Flus, for their instrumental roles in securing his release and return.


During the negotiation phase, OWWA in Region 2 assisted Jimmy's wife, Clarice, linking her directly with the Philippine Embassy in Israel, said OIC Regional Director Virsie Tamayao.


OWWA Administrator Arnell Ignacio announced scholarships for Pacheco's children and revealed that the Pacheco family received P100,000 from the OWWA Central Office, along with an additional P20,000 from the region's “Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay” program.


The Department of Migrant Workers further extended financial aid amounting to P50,000, facilitating Pacheco's return documents to Israel for potential reemployment.



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