Middle East Tension

To impact 130,000 OFWs in Qatar
Statement  of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on crisis
06 June 2017 The Middle East diplomatic crisis sparked by the decision of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to break off relations with Qatar over its perceived support for terrorism could have serious implications on the safety and welfare of Filipinos living in Qatar.


As the situation unfolds, the Department of Foreign Affairs through our Philippine Embassy in Qatar should remain vigilant and closely monitor the situation and adopt measures to ensure open communication lines with the Filipino community.

Should the situation deteriorate, the embassy must be able to provide timely advisories to avoid possible panic and ensure the safety of our OFWs.

While the situation in Qatar has remained stable, our government as early as now must create a task force to draw up contingency measures for the safety and welfare of the estimated 260,000 Overseas Filipino Workers in the area.

The reported panic-buying could be a prelude to a breakdown of peace and order. This internal strife may lead to a full diplomatic crisis.

The possibility that we might have to repatriate a huge number of OFWs is a daunting task by itself. Even more challenging is the need to provide them with ample financial support.

It is imperative that at this point, our government and the private sector and NGOs should work hand in hand to ensure we can provide our OFWs in Qatar the  appropriate assistance when the need arises. We must not wait until it’s too late to act. ##


(Senate) Senator Nancy Binay today urged the departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Labor and Employment (DOLE); the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA); and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Qatar to activate contingency plans and prepare for any eventuality in the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Middle East.

“With the ongoing tension in the Middle East, I urge the DFA, DOLE, OWWA, and POLO to prepare for any eventuality,” Binay said.

“Huwag po tayong maghintay na lumala pa ang krisis, lalo pa’t posibleng maapektuhan ang ating overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at mga Filipinong nakatira sa Qatar,” she added.

The lady senator also assured that the government is ready to help OFWs in the Middle Eastern state.

“The government is ready to extend help. Kailangan po nating tiyakin na laging ligtas at kalmado ang ating mga kababayan sa Qatar,” she said.

Binay said that the ongoing row between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Maldives, and Qatar is a cause for concern for the thousands of OFWs there.

According to 2015 Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) data, there are around 900,000 OFWs working in the Middle East. Around 130,000 of these work in Qatar.

It would be prudent for the government to arrange and coordinate with the Filipino community and organizations in Qatar regarding the situation of OFWs, especially regarding immediate action and possible evacuation in case the situation worsens, Binay said.

“Pinakakawawa po ang mga undocumented na mga Filipino sakaling sumiklab ang gulo sa Qatar,” she added.

The lady senator also called on non-government organizations (NGOs) helping OFWs to coordinate with the Philippine embassy in Doha, Qatar as well as the labor attaché in helping Filipinos living in the Middle Eastern state.

“Maging yung mga kapamilya po, sana ay makipag-ugnayan din sa DFA, DOLE o POEA para malaman ng ating gobyerno ang kalagayan ng mga kamag-anak nila sa Qatar,” Binay said.

The lady senator said she trusts DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III in handling the situation.

“I’m confident that Sec. Bello can handle the situation in Qatar. He is assured that we in the Senate will extend all the support he would need to make sure that our kababayans in Qatar are safe, especially those who are near the borders,” Binay said.

the noblest motive is the greatest good for the greatest number