Just a day after several Arab nations cut ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting terrorism, the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) suspended the deployment of Filipino workers to the kingdom.
While it is prudent for DOLE to “assess the situation,” its reason for doing so, in the words of Secretary Sylvester Bello, are “the wild rumors going around and the (sic) things are not going well in Qatar.”
One would think that there would be a more rationale basis for the department order.
There are over 200,000 Filipinos living or working in Qatar and hundreds more are awaiting to leave the Philippines to report to their prospective employers.
Suspending deployment at this early stage will definitely have serious consequences not only on the part of the OFWs but on the Philippines’ overall overseas employment program.
A few of Politikal Pinoy’s friends and followers based in Qatar have confirmed that they are “just fine,” and that the DOLE decision to suspend further deployment to the kingdom is without sound basis. At least at this point in time.
DOLE should focus on the “assessment” first before making any decision to cut off, albeit temporarily, the deployment of OFWs. (The non-deployment of the OFWs could result in a permanent loss of their potential employment.)
It is a given that many other countries will be affected by the Qatar situation. Like the Philippines, other countries have a significant number of their citizens employed in the kingdom.
Even the United States has a big stake in Qatar which is host to one of the more strategic US military bases in the region. America, for sure, is also assessing the situation.
The Philippines’ overseas employment program is too critical and valuable to many of our fellow Filipinos and their families. It behooves upon DOLE to seriously consider the impact of its actions and not rush to any judgment that it will later regret, to the detriment of the OFWs.