Press Release
June 7, 2017

On suspension of OFW deployment to Qatar

Senator Nancy Binay today urged the departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Labor and Employment (DOLE) to speak with one voice in making policy decisions that would affect over 200,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Qatar.

"Let us take a calm and sober approach in addressing the needs of our workers in Qatar. The move to abruptly suspend the deployment of Filipino workers to Qatar may have been premature considering that we have heard no complaints so far from the OFWs who are based there," Binay said.

The senator noted that the decision to suspend deployment came only from the labor department, without prior coordination and consultations with the DFA.

"I would like to know whether the DFA concurs with the suspension order because this is a diplomatic row involving several countries all of whom are long time allies and friends of the Philippines," Senator Binay said.

The lady senator also assured the families of Qatar-based OFWs that the government is ready to help their loved ones.

"The government is ready to extend help. Right now, the government of Qatar has given its assurances that it is capable of looking after the needs of its citizens and foreign guests including migrant workers. Let us await the DFA's assessment of the situation before making any further moves that may offend any of our allies," she said.

Binay said that the ongoing diplomatic row between Qatar and Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, and Maldives may be over soon in light of Qatar's reported openness to hold a dialogue through the intervention of Kuwait.

"Let's pray that this diplomatic crisis will be over soon. Meanwhile, our embassy should maintain an open line of communications with our workers and their employers," she stressed.

"Maging yung mga kapamilya po, sana ay makipag-ugnayan din sa DFA, DOLE o Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) para malaman ng ating gobyerno ang tunay na kalagayan ng mga kamag-anak nila sa Qatar," Binay said.

The lady senator said she hopes DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III and DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano can work together in mapping out a unified plan to help OFWs in Qatar especially when the current situation escalates into a full-blown crisis.

"This is an internal problem among the Gulf states and we should be patient and understanding as their leaders try to resolve their problems in a diplomatic manner. It is in our strategic interest to remain in everyone's good graces," Binay added.

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