Despite the reported layoff of over 300 Filipino health workers in Qatar, Philippine labor officials there said the Middle Eastern country is still in need of Filipino workers in various professions.
"We continue to accept job orders, malaki pa ho ang demand ng Filipinos dito sa Qatar," said David Des Dicang, Philippine Labor Attaché in Qatar, in a report by Mav Gonzalez on Balitanghali on Tuesday.
"Of the professionals po marami ang pangangailangan sa engineers, nurses, accountants, medical staff. For highly skilled po mga supervisors, excavators, draftsmen, sa mga semi-skills naman ho technicians, waitresses, hotel staff. So marami ho," he added.
Citing the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Qatar (POLO), the report said the 300 Filipinos who were terminated from their job were among the 800 foreign health workers who were given notices of termination last month.
"During the last part of January, our workers, Filipino workers, not only Filipino workers but co-expatriates employed by the corporations, health centers in particulars, received notices of terminations, two months notice," Dicang said.
The Philippine Embassy, meanwhile, said the layoff was part of the Qatar government's austerity measures affecting workers aged 55 years old and above.
No mass layoff in Qatar
Philippine Ambassador Wilfredo Santos denied that there is an ongoing mass layoff of OFWs in Qatar as a result of the oil situation.
"Despite the drop in oil prices and the reports of retrenchments of overseas Filipino workers in the region as a result of this development, I'd like to assure our countrymen here that there has been is no reports of mass layoffs of our workers here in Qatar," Santos said in the report.
Meanwhile, Filipino engineers who may find themselves out of job in the Middle East are encouraged to try applying in South Korean firms, which reportedly prefer Filipino engineers in their oil projects in Iran.
Other OFWs may also try the job opportunities at home, the report said, adding the Philippines is in need of 30,000 teachers and 1,200 professionals.
"Nitong nakaraang October round ng Labor Force Survey, nagpapakita na ang ating unemployment dito sa bansa ay padausdos nang padausdos mula 2010 -- 5.6 percent na lang ang ating unemployment rate," said Nicon Fameronag, spokesperson for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
"May oportunidad ang ating ekonomiya para sa mga gustong magsaalang-alang ng oportunidad na 'yun," he added.
Meanwhile, POLOs in the Middle East are looking into reports of layoffs affecting Filipino workers.
POLO-Jeddah said it is validating reports that Saudi Binladen Group has decided to terminate 100 OFWs in Makkah due the government's suspension of the group's contracts last year as a result of an accident that killed 107 people and injured 400.
It is also monitoring the group's plan to retrench 15,000 out of its 200,000 workers in the entire Saudi Arabia and the pending cases of three OFWs at the Saudi Primary and Higher Labor Commission.
On the other, POLO-Brunei is verifying reports that 33 OFWs were terminated from the Kuala Beliat oil fields and 100 of 200 OFWs in Massutera Engineering SDN BHD were given three-month termination notices.
Weekly reports are sent by POLOs to update DOLE on the nature of the dismissals and which aid package could be prepared for the affected OFWS. —with Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News