The Philippine Embassy in Qatar has called on thousands of Filipinos there to stay calm after Gulf states and other countries severed ties with Doha over allegations that it supports terrorism and destabilization of the region.
An advisory issued Tuesday by Philippine Ambassador Alan Timbayan said Filipinos must also exercise prudence as the embassy closely monitors the situation.
Qatar is home to around 250,000 Filipino workers.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain announced the severance of diplomatic ties with Qatar. This was followed by similar statement of diplomatic withdrawal by Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Maldives.
As a result, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines and other regional carriers have suspended flights to and from Doha.
“In view of these developments, Filipino travelers are advised to consult their travel agents to ensure unhampered travel arrangements,” the embassy said.
Filipinos in Qatar were advised to contact the embassy if they need assistance or monitor its website and Facebook page.
Qataris in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain were told to leave within 14 days, while ports of entry between Saudi and Qatar will be sealed off, reports said.
The Gulf states have denounced Qatar’s alleged backing and funding Islamic terrorist and extremist organizations, such as Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and ISIS – an accusation denied by Doha.
With more than 2 million Filipino workers in the Middle East, tensions in the region has been a concern for the Philippine government, which is also dealing with long-running conflicts in the North Africa, particularly Syria and Libya, where hundreds of Filipinos refuse to return home due to lack of jobs back home.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the current diplomatic crisis in the Middle East would affect Filipinos, but assured that the government have contingency measures in place. —KBK, GMA News