Suspension of OFW deployment to Qatar 'surprising' –OFW advocates
A pro-OFW group on Wednesday said the government's decision to suspend the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Qatar amid its diplomatic crisis has caught them by surprise.
"We were surprised at the abrupt decision to suspend the deployment of OFWs to Qatar to give way to an assessment of the situation," said Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center. "It is usually the other way around."
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center is a non-profit organization that assists distressed OFWs.
The suspension was announced by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday, a day after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and the Maldives cut ties with Qatar over accusations that it supports extremist groups.
Ople however commended Bello for "his good intentions in taking a pro-active role in protecting Qatar-bound OFWs."
According to Ople, the "best and most reasonable approach" would be for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to come up with a joint assessment of the situation in Qatar and submit a unified plan of action to the Office of the President for approval.
She said such inter-department coordination would enhance policy coherence and a well-coordinated plan.
Meanwhile, Ople is urging Filipinos in Qatar to "Keep calm and carry on." —KBK, GMA News