DOLE ready to assist OFWs affected by political unrest in Qatar

MANILA The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is ready to provide assistance to over 600 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the ongoing political turmoil faced by Qatar.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are ready to help the 644 workers in the host country to find a job there for those who want to stay.

Those who would want to go home, meanwhile, will be repatriated.

Yung iba maghahanap ng ibang trabaho. Tutulungan namin sila. 'Yung iba kung ayaw na maghanap ng trabaho halimbawa: gusto na umuwi then we would have to repatriate them. And waiting for them is our reintegration program, he said in a press conference in Manila on Monday.

For his part, Usec. Ciriaco Lagunzad III, who revealed the number of affected OFWs in Qatar noted that aside from the political issue between the said country and the rest of the countries in the Middle East, the Saudization by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also attributed to the retrenchment of Filipino workers.

In Qatar we have about at that time of about 644 Filipinos affected by the political issue between Qatar and the rest of the Middle East countries. So we looked at the companies where these Filipinos worked and apparently a lot of them are owned by Saudi companies. So this might be on face value a divestment of Saudi from Qatar. So until the political issues is there, it is always a threat with Filipinos. We are closely observing this, he said.

Isang dahilan kung bakit nagkakaroon ng temporary na walang trabaho is yung Saudization. Ito 'yung effort ng Saudi para bigyan ngpriority yung mga tiga Saudi for a certain categories, for example yung mga drivers. Nire-reserve na iyan sa mga tiga Saudi, There are also some companies which are experiencing difficulty. Some of the Filipinos are laid off. Of course, the response of the government is to assist them. Either they find other work or they would be assisted coming home and given reintegration program like retraining for employment or for livelihood, the DOLE official added.

On the other hand, Bello is optimistic that once the adjustments are done, the effects on Filipinos would be lessened.

We expect that when the adjustments are done, then the displacements would actually be reduced if not stop. Because it is a process of restructuring the economy, he explained.

Meanwhile, the DOLE chief also reported that rapid response team will be visiting shelters and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the Middle East to look at the situation of OFWs there.

The team will be headed by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administration Arnell Ignacio.

They will be visiting countries in the region such as Qatar and Kuwait as well as some parts of Saudi Arabia including Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar, within 15 days. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency