DOLE suspends deployment of OFWs to Qatar

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III on Tuesday announced the temporary suspension of the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Qatar after neighboring Arab states cut diplomatic ties with the said country.

I temporarily suspend the deployment of our OFWs in the county of Qatar. This is for us to be able to assess the situation because there are so many wild rumors going around, saying things are not going well there. This suspension is for the welfare and protection of our OFWs, Bello said.

Given the situation in the said Arab country, Bello, meantime has sent augmentation team composed of five Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) officers and staff to Qatar and other involved Middle East countries to assess the situation and monitor the condition of around 250,000 OFWs in Qatar.

Bello also said that it is necessary to assess the situation first before allowing the Filipino migrant workers to get deployed in Qatar.

We need to study first the situation. For now, the protection of our migrant workers comes first. The duration of suspension of deployment will depend on the assessment of the situation with close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bello said.

The labor chief also directed Labor Attache David Des Dicang to ensure food provision of the OFWs as Qatar does not have its own food production.

He also advised all recruitment agencies to get in touch with their counterparts in Qatar to see to it that Filipino migrant workers are sufficiently and effectively protected.

Our labor office in Qatar is ready to extend any form of assistance under the circumstances. Naka-alert na po ang ating mga tao diyan. Although wala pa naman masyadong cause for alarm, mabuti na ‘yung nakahanda tayo. Our POLO is open on 24-hour service for any emergency situation, Bello said.

He also said that OFWs should not worry as Philippines still maintains good diplomatic relations with Qatar.

I was invited by the Minister of Labor of Qatar this September for the secured and more lenient processing of deployment of our migrant workers. They said they prefer more Filipino workers. And we maintain good labor relations for the welfare and security of our OFWs, Bello said.

He noted that the visit would be for the signing of labor agreements on the social protection and security of OFWs.

The seven Arab countries�Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Yemen, and Libya, broke off relations with Qatar on accusation it is supporting terrorist groups.

Source: DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT REPUBLIC OF PHILIPPINES

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