Philippines stops workers’ deployment to Qatar
DUBAI – After the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, the Philippines on Tuesday (June 6) said it will stop the deployment of workers to Qatar.
Labour chief Silvestre Bello said the move is a precautionary measure following fears that food shortages could affect the more than 200,000 Filipinos in Qatar amid the ongoing crisis.
He said that the ban will also affect individuals whose papers have been approved or are scheduled to depart for Qatar.
“We are forseeing a possible problem in Qatar,” Bello said at a news conference.
“For example, we know for a fact that Qatar does not produce its own food. If anything happens that they run out of food and food riots will take place, definitely our OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers)… will be the first victims,” he said.
Bello said there were 141,000 documented Filipino workers in Qatar as of last year, but the total number could surpass 200,000, including undocumented Filipinos in the country.
“That’s why we really need to make preparatory measures to meet a possible exigency,” Bello said.
Qatar’s neighbouring countries cut ties with the Gulf country, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Yemen and the Maldives cut ties with Qatar after what it said was the country’s efforts to back “aims to destabilize the region”.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the government will be extending assistance to affected Filipinos in Qatar.
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