MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has lifted the suspension of the deployment of workers to Qatar, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced on Thursday, June 15.
Bello said the decision was made upon the recommendation of Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Qatar after their assessment of the situation.
The Philippine government imposed the moratorium on June 6, after Saudi Arabia and several other Middle Eastern nations severed diplomatic ties with Qatar for allegedly supporting terrorism. Qatar has repeatedly denied the accusation.
Due to clamor from migrant workers’ groups and other stakeholders, the government partially lifted the suspension and limited it only to workers whose documents have yet to be processed. This allowed new and returning workers with overseas certificates of employment to leave for Qatar.
Situation back to normal
Philippine labor attaché to Qatar David Dicang said the situation in Qatar is back to normal and that the Philippine embassy there requested the deployment of new workers to the Philippine School Doha (PSD) and the Philippine International School-Qatar (PISQ).
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is processing the applications of 28 new teachers and 20 bus drivers for PSD, and 51 teachers for PISQ.
Meanwhile, the embassy and the POLO in Doha recommended the deployment of an assessment team to meet with the Qatari government and companies employing Filipino workers.
The team will be composed of representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), POEA, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Despite the lifting of the deployment suspension, the POLO in Qatar is continuously coordinating with authorities on the possible repatriation of or assistance for distressed Filipino workers there, including domestic helpers who will be left in the country or those who will be forced to travel with their employers.
There are around 240,000 Filipino migrant workers in Qatar, mostly semi-skilled workers and workers in the services, electronics, and healthcare sectors. There are also around 8,717 Filipino domestic workers in Qatar. – Rappler.com