Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Senator urges gov’t to prepare contingency plan for OFWs in Qatar

A senator on Tuesday urged concerned government agencies to activate its contingency plans for thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Qatar amid the diplomatic crisis in the Middle East.
Senator Nancy Binay said the departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Labor and Employment; the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration; and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office should be ready “for any eventuality.”
“Huwag po tayong maghintay na lumala pa ang krisis, lalo pa’t posibleng maapektuhan ang ating overseas Filipino workers at mga Filipinong nakatira sa Qatar,” Binay said.
Binay said the ongoing row between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, and Qatar is a cause for concern for the thousands of OFWs.
According to 2015 Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) data, there are around 900,000 OFWs working in the Middle East and around 130,000 work in Qatar.
Binay said the government should immediately coordinate with Filipino community and organizations in Qatar regarding the situation of OFWs, especially on the possible evacuation in case the situation worsens.
“Pinakakawawa po ang mga undocumented na mga Filipino sakaling sumiklab ang gulo sa Qatar,” she added.
On Monday, Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar for supposedly supporting terrorism.
DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had said the rivalries among nations in the Middle East "will definitely" affect OFWs.
"Immediately, wala pa naman, kasi 'di naman masyado nagku-cross border yung ating mga OFWs doon," he said. "But we will monitor that situation." —ALG, GMA News

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